Honors & Awards:

Nominate Someone Today in Honor of their Professional Excellence, Contribution to Education & Research, Community Service, and Leadership

2019 Award Recipients

Occupational Therapist of the Year  Margaret Bates
Occupational Therapy Assistant of the Year Verlanda DeLaporte
2019 Healthcare Advocate  Senator John Haste
(State Legislator) 
2019 Service Award Alexis Nabong 
2019  OKOTA Educators Malissia Guthrie
Allison Willis
Mikki Mayfield
2019  OT Advocacy Award Sarah Van Alstine

To nominate an OUTSTANDING colleague for an OKOTA Award any time during the year, email:  
[email protected] 

To see the list of annual awards categories and eligibility criteria, click here:  (PDF) 


2018 OKOTA Award Recipients:

2018 OTR of the Year - Jessica Tsotsoros, PhD, OTR/L, ATP
(OU-Tulsa Assistant Professor, Academic Fieldwork Coordinator) Jessica received this nomination in recognition of her international advocacy efforts, as well as her passion for the profession as an educator at the OU-Tulsa OT program. Jessica has served as the Oklahoma representative to the AOTA Representative Assembly, a liaison between the OKOTA board, our state AOTA members, and the national association leadership. "She inspires all of us to be actively engaged in social justice, locally and around the world, by using all of the skills in our therapy 'tool box': from advanced technology to traditional OT methods. Jessica Tsotsoros deserves to be recognized for all these accomplishments and more. Thank you."

2018 COTA of the Year - Alecia Michelle Bell, COTA
Alecia Michelle Bell, COTA from McAlester, OK has been nominated for the COTA of the year award. "I once had the distinct pleasure of supervising and working beside her and can attest to level of skill she demonstrates as a practitioner and her character as a person. She completed her initial training in the army where she polished her skills in splint making during surgical procedures. She has mastered all areas of practice, from her special designs for splints to calming the most frustrated of kids during sensory meltdowns. She is a dedicated advocate for her clients and a loyal member of the OT team, offering help without being asked. Michelle is a talented clinician with a heart for OT. She consistently trains students, with many OT and OTA programs requesting her by name. She can be tough and kind all at the same time."

OT Advocacy Award - Kari Garza, MOT, OTR/L
(Senior Director of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitative Services, Southwestern Medical Center)  Kari has been nominated for the OT Advocacy Award, in recognition of her volunteer role on the state medical board OT Advisory Committee for several years, in addition to her extra efforts to collaborate with the medical board and OKOTA on the creation of legislation to update the OK OT Practice Act. "She has given her time and energy, leadership experience, and valuable organizational skills to advance the profession in this way, to protect our scope of practice, and to promote ethical use of new therapy modalities while preserving the values of our professional heritage. Kari Garza deserves to be recognized for her service to Oklahoma now and for the impact this work will have on our profession's future. Thank you."

2018 Service Award - Tara Warwick, MS, OTR/L
(co-owner Today's Therapy Solutions, Today's Consulting Solutions) Tara has been nominated for the community service award, in recognition of her collaborative efforts to provide a special Swim Camp this summer. "Drowning is the leading cause of death for children with autism. Tara Warwick, along with local SLP & OT /student volunteers, and with the support of AutismOklahoma "Piece of Mind Project", the Autism Center, Oak Tree Country Club, and the national "iCan Swim!" program, a group of 'campers' were given a week of water safety, swimming lessons, and unique social skills experience. Her OT students were also given a unique learning opportunity, with valuable hands-on training and special fieldwork memories they'll never forget! Tara, thank you for your obvious passion for the profession and for this outstanding community service."

OKOTA Educator Award - Marlene Pittaluga Snow, MS, OTR/L, SCLV
(Lead O.T. and Health Educator for NewView Oklahoma) Marlene has been nominated for this award as a professional educator on the role of Occupational Therapy in multiple non-traditional settings. "Above and beyond her job as a health educator, she has developed online webinars (available through MedBridge company) for continuing education in her specialty practice area of low vision interventions, as well as contributed to the research for evidence-based practice with her recently published AJOT article: (co-authors Mary Warren and Hon K. Yuen) "Revised Self-Report Assessment of Functional Visual Performance (R–SRAFVP)—Part II: Construct Validation" - Marlene Snow deserves to be recognized for outstanding contributions to our field & as an educator to the public on the distinct value of occupational therapy."

Health Advocate Award - Jennifer Knowlton, PT
Jennifer Knowlton, Physical Therapist has been nominated for this award, for being an excellent advocate of the value of OT on the burn unit team.  "As a 25 year employee of Hillcrest Medical Center, Jenn has encouraged and mentored multiple staff and students of all displines. She willingly shares her skills and knowledge and encourages others to learn.  As the primary therapist within the Alexander Burn Unit during her tenure with Hillcrest, she has provided education and training to several Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapy Assistants. She has done this not only for Hillcrest staff, but she has also spent time on the phone, consulting with various Occupational and Physical Therapy staff across the state when a burn survivor returns to their home town for outpatient therapy.
Almost 10 years ago, she proposed creating a part-time Occupational Therapy position dedicated to the Burn Unit. Prior to her proposal, OT often did not receive orders in a timely manner for the majority of the patients on that unit. Jenn had seen the need for an Occupational Therapist who could help address the multiple needs of patients, often including needs beyond the outward, physical deficits. She was able to justify to Hillcrest Management that burn survivors within the hospital could benefit from the expertise of an OT. Jenn has continued to recommend OT services for both inpatients and outpatients, seeking out new orders from physicians when needed. Jenn recognizes the value of occupation, the therapeutic use of self, and the need to address a patient's psychological well-being. She has been an advocate for the Hillcrest Arts in Healing program, Pet Therapy within the Acute Care setting, and is director of the Oklahoma Burn Camp for young survivors. Like her many patients, I am lucky to have Jenn Knowlton on my side, supporting the Occupational Therapy profession."

2017 OKOTA Award Recipients:


Occupational Therapist of the Year - Jaynie Campanini
Occupational Therapy Assistant of the Year - Reeca Young

2017 Health Advocate - State Representative Mickey Dollens
2017 Service Award - Jenna Albarran
2017 Fieldwork Coordinator - Penny Stack (TCC)
2017 OT Advocate Award - Shonda McCauley

Helen Thompson Lifetime Achievement Honorees:
Toby Hamilton
Mary Isaacson


2016 OKOTA Award Recipients:  

 OTR of the Year - Kendra Orcutt
 COTA of the Year - Gerda Rouse
 Health Advocate - Amber Given, LPC
 Service Award - Paula Lewis, OTR/L
 OT Advocacy - Megan Selby, COTA/L