About Amatollah Elsirafy

Amatollah Elsirafy first learned about occupational therapy while attending community college and working at a school for children with autism. 

When it was time to transfer, she looked at colleges with Occupational Therapy programs. 

“It matched perfectly with what I wanted to do,” she said. “It is in the health field, but also holistic and client-centered.” 

She said she chose Russell Sage College because of its competitive tuition and the diversity in New York’s Capital District. 

Amatollah began in Sage’s Health Sciences bachelor’s program and met the requirements that guaranteed her a spot in its Occupational Therapy graduate program. 

She pursued the Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree  instead of the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy because she wanted to have the option to teach as well as practice occupational therapy in the future. 

Sage’s bachelor’s program in Health Sciences was ideal preparation for doctoral work, she said. 

“Sage does a great job preparing OT and PT and even premed students in undergrad Anatomy and Physiology.” 

She described how students from Sage seemed more comfortable in graduate-level anatomy classes than students from other colleges: “We had that good, solid foundation ahead of time.” 

Sage’s Health Sciences programs stress interprofessional education and opportunities for different disciplines to collaborate, which Amatollah also appreciated. 

For her capstone research, she worked closely with Cheryl Davis, Ph.D., LABA, BCBA-D, of Sage’s Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis program, to study collaboration between occupational therapists and ABA professionals.

It’s a topic that has intrigued her since she first encountered the occupational therapist at the ABA-based school where she used to work, and she’s excited to present her research poster at the New York State Occupational Therapy Association conference in fall 2022.

Amatollah completed her doctorate in August 2022 and is now preparing for the exam required to become a certified occupational therapist. 

“I want to start with travel therapy, so I can be in different settings, with different populations,” she said of her short-term career plans. 

Eventually, she would like to work at the New England Center for Children or a similar program serving children with autism. 

She also expects to pursue more education — perhaps to become a Neuro-Developmental Treatment-certified occupational therapist or maybe to complement her Occupational Therapy degree with a Nursing degree. 

“I’m all about being a well-rounded therapist,“ she said. “The more that I can add to my toolbox, the better.” 

“Sage does a great job preparing OT and PT and even premed students in undergrad Anatomy and Physiology.”

Amatollah Elsirafy, OTD