Our Team

Mary Khetani

Mary Khetani, Director, CPERL

1919 West Taylor St.,
Rooms 716, 744, and 745 AHSB
Chicago, Illinois 60612

312-413-2850

mkhetani@uic.edu

Mary's profile
headshot of Vera Kaelin

Vera Kaelin – Research Assistant
PhD Student, Rehabilitation Science, University of Illinois at Chicago

What drew you to CPERL? How does CPERL align with your professional vision?
I am a PhD student working with Dr. Mary Khetani and the CPERL team at UIC. My professional vision is to contribute as a researcher towards inclusion and social participation of all children in school and other parts of their daily life. This vision is shaped by my previous work as a school-based occupational therapist and my masters thesis focusing on cross-cultural validation of the School AMPS, and subsequent experience in a university setting.

What do you work on in CPERL?
I am in my first semester, so concrete projects are about to be defined. Stay tuned! 🙂

What are your favorite ways to occupy yourself, and what does it mean for you to participate in these activities?
I am a passionate snowboarder, I love to read and write, and to have rich discussions with people. Participating in these activities forms who I am. With this in mind, supporting people in participating in their meaningful activities, participating in society, and being part of our society is of highest importance to me.

ResearchGate Profile
CV

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Yuki Mashizume – Research Assistant
PhD Student, Rehabilitation Sciences, Kitasato University
Projected Start Date: Spring 2021

What drew you to CPERL? How does CPERL align with your professional vision?
I am an occupational therapist and PhD student in Rehabilitation Sciences at Kitasato University in Japan, mentored by Dr. Kayoko Takahashi, who is a colleague of Dr. Mary Khetani. I obtained a TOBITATE grant to fund my time in Chicago and CPERL, starting Fall 2020, to obtain mentored research training. This training will enhance my skills with international collaboration to benefit my career development.

What do you work on in CPERL?
I am beginning to define specific projects I will be involved in. I have two goals. My first goal is to make use of my experiences being involved in a randomized control trial on occupational therapists using robotics for chronic stroke patients in Japan, to support the trials that are going to be taking place in CPERL. The second goal is to benefit from CPERL’s longstanding expertise in the outcome of participation in children in various settings, to understand similarities and differences in how it is conceptualized across the life course.

What are your favorite ways to occupy yourself, and what does it mean for you to participate in these activities?
I love to play baseball and boxing, to eat delicious food and travel. During these meaningful activities, I am always eager to interact with my family, friends, and even with strangers. This mindset led me to pursue a career in occupational therapy.

headshot of Zurisadai

Zurisadai Salgado – Research Assistant
BS student, Kinesiology major, University of Illinois at Chicago

What drew you to CPERL? How does CPERL align with your professional vision?
While completing a statistics course at the University of Illinois Chicago, I was introduced to Vera, CPERL’s PhD student and my TA for the course, and became fascinated hearing about the research in the CPERL lab. Joining the CPERL team will expose me to research on technology that facilitates family engagement in pediatric rehabilitation, a topic that is relevant to occupational therapy. As a pre-occupational therapy student, my involvement in this lab will help to advance my professional vision of contributing to this profession. CPERL’s work on the Participation and Environment Measure-Plus (PEM+) to advance pediatric care planning using technology aligns most with my interests.

What do you work on in CPERL?
I am currently in the third year of my undergraduate education, and planning to complete my UIC Honors College capstone project with CPERL. I will be using existing data on caregiver strategy use to help the team to optimize PEM+.

What are your favorite ways to occupy yourself, and what does it mean for you to participate in these activities?
I love to exercise, draw, and spend time with family and friends. Exercising helps me focus on becoming mentally/physically stronger and teaches me to live healthier. Drawing allows me to express my creativity and helps relax my mind. Spending time with family and friends allows me to maintain a strong, motivational bond with the people I love.

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Vivian Villegas – Research Assistant
MS/OTD student, Occupational Therapy, University of Illinois at Chicago

What drew you to CPERL? How does CPERL align with your professional vision?
I was introduced to CPERL and Dr. Khetani during my time in the MS of Occupational Therapy program at UIC. I immediately admired Dr. Khetani’s tenacity and leadership within the classroom. Once meeting with her CPERL team, I observed an environment that I knew would foster growth and mentorship as I continued in the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program. I hope to one day have a clinically-focused pediatric career that includes meaningful research engagement. CPERL’s mission to harness technology to build innovative tools that accelerate family-engaged and participation-focused care aligns well with my vision.

What do you work on in CPERL?
I am currently designing my OTD capstone project which would involve further optimizing the Participation and Environment Measure (PEM+) with provider and parent input. This technology is designed to facilitate provider-parent communication to help with goal setting but requires optimizations prior to further testing. I believe that I can help to make messages clear, accessible, and compelling to the end users of this PEM+ technology.

What are your favorite ways to occupy yourself, and what does it mean for you to participate in these activities?
I love to jog, play the card game, Euchre, with my friends, and search for the best sushi in Chicago. When I am running, I value the opportunity I have to explore my environment. When playing card games and dining with friends, I enjoy the opportunities I have to build rich connections with those around me.

Julia Sim headshot

Julia Gabrielle Sim – Research Assistant
BS student, Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago

What drew you to CPERL? How does CPERL align with your professional vision?
I am completing my junior year as a psychology major at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where I am also part of the Honors College program. I first heard about CPERL when I was looking through the UIC OT directory and I came across Dr. Khetani. Her background in pediatric research and clinical practice aligned perfectly with my professional goals which made me reach out to her to join this lab. CPERL’s focus on client-centered care and outcomes in pediatric rehabilitation drew me in, as this is something I would love to focus on during my journey to becoming an occupational therapist.

What do you work on in CPERL?
It will be my first semester in Spring 2021, so I will be getting oriented, earning acknowledgement for a book chapter, and assisting with ongoing research that will lay a foundation for my honors capstone that I will design this summer!

What are your favorite ways to occupy yourself, and what does it mean for you to participate in these activities?
Some things I love doing are spending time with my family and friends, dancing, traveling, napping, and having a night in with people close to me. I love being around people and having a good time, but I also like to set some time aside for myself.