Kierra Peak is a first-year Student in the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. She is a native North Carolinian from Fayetteville and a double Tar Heel graduating from UNC in 2014. Her hobbies include being a patron of the arts by attending concerts, plays, and other productions. Though she is still figuring out her research interests, she is currently intrigued with exploring meaningful activities of at-risk youth and seeing what role OS/OT has with this population.
What made you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
While pursuing my Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy, I found myself having many questions about what I was learning and wanted to explore them on my own and pursuing this degree grants me the opportunity to do that. I have an interest in exploring how the field can aid at-risk adolescence and what role the field has in doing so. I am also interested in exploring how to make the field reflect the people that it serves.
What’s the thing you love most about Chapel Hill?
Coming back to Chapel Hill 5 years after finishing undergrad has brought me feelings of nostalgia at times but mostly, I find that my experience here has been different as a graduate student. I have a better appreciation for the area as it provides access to nature and hiking trails as well as being a hub for music artists and comedians that visit the Triangle area.
If you had any advice for someone thinking about pursuing a graduate degree, what would it be?
Reach out to the department now and start asking questions to see if it might be a good fit for you. It is never too early to start making connections. Also, know that there are options to study explore whatever research questions you want in different fields. You won’t know if a program will fit your vision until you start asking those questions. Also, having a support system of mentors who have insight into the whole graduate school experience is very essential before, during, and after.
What is your dream career after you’ve completed your studies?
I got back in forth with wanting to be an administrator that is a strong advocate for students or seeking opportunities to use my skills outside of academia and working in a community setting. I hope to gain a better sense of both paths as I continue my degree. No matter the setting, I know that I will absolutely need to connect with others working to achieve certain goals.
How will your Carolina degree help you make a difference in the world?
I think that I have already learned so much from being here just for a year as a grad student and has allowed me to explore the realms of all of these ideas that I have which is a reminder that the work I want to do may be challenging but is very possible.