Counselor Launches Second Career Through U of A's new Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program

Dani Glenn, a doctoral student in occupational therapy.
Whit Pruitt

Dani Glenn, a doctoral student in occupational therapy.

Danielle Glenn started classes in January with the first-ever occupational therapy cohort of 27 students at the University of Arkansas and UAMS Northwest. 

These students will graduate in December 2022 with a Doctor of Occupational Therapy. This doctoral degree will allow them to work as occupational therapists in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and other health-care facilities. 

Danielle and her fellow OT students are learning from nationally recognized faculty members who specialize in providing therapy to a variety of populations, including primary care patients and people with disabilities. 

Danielle dreams of helping Northwest Arkansas children with special needs and their families find resources that offer preemptive support. She believes the OT degree will help her achieve that goal.  

Danielle's first career involved working with babies and teens with special needs in Northwest Arkansas. The counseling field gave her an opportunity to see the world through a social lens, but she also collaborated with medical providers to find solutions for clients. 

"I realized what I truly wanted to achieve would be better done with occupational therapy," she said. "We forget that having children with special needs does not automatically make parents knowledgeable about next steps. This is absolutely a field for occupational therapists to explore." 

When Danielle was an undergrad, she transferred to the U of A from Abilene Christian University. She immediately fell in love with the university. 

"I am unique in that all three of my degrees will have a U of A emblem," she said. "I'm incredibly proud of this. This is a community and home that has allowed me to grow into the woman I am today. I have never been more proud to be a Hog." 

It's especially exciting to Danielle that she'll make history as one of the first OT graduates. 

"It's an incredible honor to be part of the first cohort," she said. "I still pinch myself that this life change is happening and that it gets to happen in my all-time favorite town." 

Danielle didn't only fall in love with the Hogs and Northwest Arkansas while in Fayetteville. She's recently engaged and has a "fur family" of two dogs and a cat. 

Danielle works at the Arkansas Spinal Cord Association. She was previously the community liaison at the Center for Collaborative Care in Fayetteville. Before that, she worked at the U of A through the Arkansas PROMISE grant. 

"Through PROMISE, we worked hard to establish relationships with teenage clients who had special needs. We helped transition them out of high school into whatever career choice or livelihood they wanted to pursue," she said. "In my time with PROMISE I worked at a summer camp, helped kids apply for college, set up social security accounts and walked through general life questions with these parents and their kids. It was an amazing journey." 

This story is part of a series featuring exceptional students in the College of Education and Health Professions. Visit COEHP's online magazine, the Colleague, to see more pictures of Dani Glenn. Visit COEHP's Occupational Therapy Doctorate page to learn more about the program.

About the College of Education and Health Professions: The College of Education and Health Professions offers advanced academic degrees as well as professional development opportunities and learning communities in service to the education and health systems of Arkansas and beyond. The college provides the education and experiences for a variety of professional roles, ranging from community mental health counselors to school teachers and leaders. Programs in adult and higher education, along with educational technology and sport management, offer a broad range of options. In addition to education-related opportunities, the college prepares nurses, speech-language pathologists, health educators and administrators, recreation professionals, rehabilitation counselors and human performance researchers.


Shannon G. Magsam, director of communications
College of Education and Health Professions


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