Everyone deserves to live a life they love and enjoy. This fundamental truth has shaped Miquela Hampton’s studies at Case Western Reserve University—and her career aspirations for life after graduation.

While Hampton initially chose to enroll at CWRU because of its competitive nursing program, her experiences led her to discover a new passion: occupational therapy. Now, the fourth-year student is double majoring in psychology and nutrition with a minor in biology on the pre-health track to specialize in her intended field.

“I chose [occupational therapy] because it’s a diverse, patient-centered field of study,” she said. “Focusing on helping others execute the daily occupations that contribute to the activities that make up their hobbies, career demands, and roles is rewarding. It’s easy to be passionate about something bigger than yourself.”

Thanks to a solid foundation of coursework in science, psychology, sociology and similar subjects through the School of Medicine and College of Arts and Sciences, Hampton landed a paid position as a therapy aide at Cleveland Clinic Rehabilitation Hospital. There, she works alongside other therapy aides and occupational, physical and speech therapists while learning more about inpatient rehabilitation and patient care interaction for those who have had amputations, brain and spinal cord injuries, cancer and strokes.

“I’m glad to be part of a working team dedicated to getting people back to their daily lives,” Hampton said.

Hampton’s drive to help patients can be credited, in part, to her faith, as well as her ability to empathize with others based on her struggles with mental health. Following the COVID-19 pandemic and personal experiences with racial discrimination, Hampton worked to improve her mental health, leading to her development of boundaries and balance.

“Those times were heartbreaking, and often it felt like everyone was looking for support, guidance, or an understanding of the issues with discrimination,” Hampton explained. “But, that was more traumatic than helpful to the people affected. Redefining my self-concept into something that isn’t validated by academic success or meeting the demands of others (people pleasing) was also crucial to my development of boundaries and balance.” 

On the Case Western Reserve campus, Hampton found a sense of community with the university’s Black Student Union, where she was the executive co-chair and vice chair of programming until she became the organization’s current student advisor. In addition to serving as a student philanthropy ambassador, tour guide and orientation leader, Hampton also contributed to the reformation of Eldred Hall through her participation on the Eldred Student and Alumni panel. 

Now, she is the vice president of the Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., and a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success.

After she graduates, Hampton will attend Cleveland State University to obtain her Doctorate of Occupational Therapy degree. She also intends to remain active in her church community and as a mentor for young girls.