Dr. Tons has been teaching at Baker College since 1996; first, in the under-graduate portion of the occupational therapy program as an associate professor and then as graduate faculty in the Master of Occupational Therapy Program. She is a licensed occupational therapist who practiced in school and hospital settings in pediatric rehabilitation and more recently provided professional development to child centered organizations such as Head Start, Community Mental Health, Office of the Young Child, and the Michigan Infant Mental Health Association. Dr. Tons has been a Certified Hand Therapist since 1995 and continues to work clinically in upper extremity rehabilitation. She has also presented at conferences in this specialty area (Michigan Chapter of American Society of Hand Therapists and Michigan Occupational Therapy Association).
Dr. Tons pursues scholarly activity by reviewing submissions to peer edited journals and conference submissions, as well as participating in ongoing research pursuits with a focus on the student experience. She has had paper submissions accepted for presentation and has published in a peer reviewed journal.
She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy from Utica College of Syracuse University, a Master of Arts in Family Studies/Health Education from Michigan State University and a PhD in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Learning from Michigan State University. In her spare time, Dr. Tons became a certified yoga instructor. She teaches classes weekly and feels very enriched by this opportunity.
Ph.D. - Michigan State University - 2011
The experience of academic success among non-traditional aged learners: The role of possible selves in the persistence of occupational therapy students.
Abstract: This study explored how non-traditional aged students in professional level occupational therapy programs persisted through their long and challenging academic curriculums despite facing obstacles. This qualitative study asked participants who successfully persisted despite obstacles to tell their story in the narrative inquiry tradition. Cross-case analysis was also done to discover common patterns of experience related to the phenomena being studies. Sixteen non-traditional aged students from four institutions with accredited occupational therapy academic programs were interviewed.
MIOTA Annual Conference, Michigan Occupational Therapy Association (Mackinac Island, MI; October 2008)
Promoting the Centennial Vision of AOTA through Student Projects in Community Based Settings.
The presentation allowed the faculty member and graduate students to explain how their strategic plans for innovative O.T. programs supported the national organization’s mission.
Michigan State University Graduate Research Colloquium (East Lansing, MI; February 2009)
Qualitative Methods Exploration (Ethnography, Grounded Theory, Phenomenology)
This presentation provided a comparative analysis of three qualitative methods used to study the benefits of a study abroad experience for graduate students.
Head Start of Michigan Annual Conference (Battle Creek, MI; March 2009)
The Use of Sensory Input to Help Children Regulate Their Behavior.
The presentation introduced treatment options for teachers and parents of children that are high risk or have special needs.
Michigan Occupational Therapy Association Hand Therapy Special Interest Group (Baker College Center for Graduate Studies, MI; October 14-15, 2011)
Understanding Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: New Treatment Strategies Using Graded Motor Imagery Program for the Upper Extremity
Group facilitator role and conference host.
American Educational Research Association (Vancouver, BC, Canada; April 13, 2012)
The persistence of non-traditional aged students in the profession of occupational therapy.
Adult learners, often referred to as non-traditional students, are gravitating to majors in the professions. There are a few studies in which retention theories have been applied to students in professions such as medicine, law, or allied health. This student explored how adult learners in professional level occupational therapy programs persisted despite facing obstacles. Participants narrated their stories and cross-case analysis discovered what factors helped students persist in their programs.
The Journal of Transformative Education(February, 2012)