First graduates in occupational therapy assistant program honored
Posted by Perry Pulse at 7:52pm 6/5/16
Courtesy Photo

The Baker College Owosso campus will honor 479 graduates at the 2016 commencement ceremony, 5:30 p.m., Friday, June 10, at Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center, 3501 Lapeer Road, Flint.

"At Baker College, our focus is firmly fixed on providing the quality education necessary for our students to succeed in their chosen careers," said Aaron J. Maike, Baker College of Owosso president. "While the word ‘commencement’ signifies the beginning of a new chapter in our graduates’ lives, now is the time to bestow their well-earned diplomas and celebrate their educational accomplishments as they venture out into the world.”

This is the first year students will graduate from the associate degree occupational therapy assistant program. The inaugural graduating class numbers 15 and maintains a 100 percent pass rate for the national certification exam, which 13 students have already taken. The exam is administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy.

Nationwide, OTA employment is projected to grow 40 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 2015 estimated average annual salary for an OTA was $58,340, with the lowest 10 percent earning an average of $38,440.

Kimberly Thelen, of Fowler, is the student speaker at the commencement ceremony. She will graduate as an honor student with a bachelor’s in business administration with majors in accounting and management. She plans to become a certified public accountant.

Thelen is the recipient of 14 President’s Awards and has remained on the dean’s list throughout her time at Baker College. She served as a Becker Professional Education Campus Ambassador while completing her degree and received scholarships from the Lansing Chapter of the Institute of Internal Auditors and the Michigan Accountancy Foundation.

Thelen and her brothers are creating a family legacy at the Owosso campus. Her older brother graduated from Baker College, earning a bachelor’s in information technology and security, and her younger brother is enrolled in the college’s diesel service technology program.

A Baker College faculty member will receive the annual Instructor of the Year Award. Selection is based on student and colleague feedback.

Jennifer Zuniga, of Brant, will perform the national anthem. She is a clinical coordinator and a Baker College faculty member in the radiologic technology program.

For more information about Baker College, contact Mike Konopacke in the admissions office at, 989.729.3350 or 1.800.879.3797, or visit Follow Baker College on Twitter, @bakercollege, or on Facebook,