The Occupational Therapy Program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).
American Occupational Therapy Association
6116 Executive Boulevard
North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929
(301) 652-AOTA (6611)
Email information is followed by @css.edu unless otherwise noted.
Emily Didlo joined the Department of Occupational Therapy as the Administrative Assistant in 2017. Emily earned her associate degree from the Medical Administrative Specialist program at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in Superior in 2009 and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communicating Arts from the University of Wisconsin Superior in 2013.
Emily is currently working towards her MBA in Leadership and Change at The College of St. Scholastica
Dr. Kelly Erickson is serving as Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy in the rank of Associate Professor. She has been practicing as an occupational therapist for 20 years with practice focus in occupational performance, behavior management, and sensory processing across the lifespan. Her teaching roles include Basic Tenets in OT, Occupational Performance II: Integrated Capacities and Abilities, and Evidence-Based OT courses; previous courses included Foundations in OT, Psychosocial OT Biomechanics for Occupational Therapy Practice, Neurorehabilitation in Occupational Therapy Practice, and Level I Fieldwork On-Campus Clinic. Occupation as the core of evaluation, task analysis, and intervention processes is a consistent thread throughout her courses.
Dr. Erickson has a master's degree in occupational therapy and received her doctorate in psychology from Walden University with a dissertation titled “Perception of Stressors and Resources for Managing the Deployment Process as Predictors of Reservist Spouse’s General Wellbeing." She is a calibrated rater of the Assessment of Motor and Process Skills (AMPS) through the Center for Innovative OT Solutions. Dr. Erickson is a member of the Minnesota Occupational Therapy Association (MOTA), the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), and maintains certification with the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. (NBCOT). She recently became a Credentialed Leader in Academia by completing AOTA's Academic Leadership Institute.
She has research interests that include use of everyday technology as assistive devices for occupational performance and as therapeutic media in the occupational therapy process. Ongoing research projects include long-term outcomes of an on-campus teaching-learning clinic in occupational therapy curriculum. She has presented at various occupational therapy conferences, the Minnesota e-Health Summit, the American Association of University Professors Conference on the State of Higher Education, and Assistive Technology Industry Association conference.
Erickson, K. (2018). On-Campus Occupational Therapy Clinic Enhances Student Professional Development and Understanding. Journal of OT Education, 2(2). https://doi.org/10.26681/jote.2018.020202
Erickson, K. (2017). Evidence-based uses of mobile devices: Assessment, intervention, and outcomes: CE article. OT Practice. AOTA, Inc.
Erickson, K. (2015). Evidence considerations for mobile devices in the occupational therapy process. Open Journal of Occupational Therapy, 3(2). http://dx.doi.org/10.15453/2168-6408.1132
Dr. Erickson is currently serving as the Editor-in-Chief of the AOTA Knowledge Transfer Content Development Board, which includes overseeing item writing, establishing and completing timelines for product review, reviewing the online exam prep product, and coordinating the writing of editorial board members. Dr. Erickson served as Co-Administrator of AOTA's Evidence-Based Practice Evidence Exchange and remains an approved Critically Appraised Paper (CAP) reviewer with AOTA. She served on The College of Saint Scholastica Alumni Board of Directors.
Dr. Erickson is continuously involved with civic community service. She is currently a hospital advocate with Programs for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault (PAVSA). She was the co-founder of the Duluth Area Special and Sled Hockey organization, which has been in operation since 2011 providing community hockey opportunities in both competitive and casual experiences for individuals of all abilities and needs. She also takes on frequent volunteer roles within the Hermantown Youth Hockey Association and her church organization.
Nancy has been an Assistant Professor in the Occupational Therapy Program at The College of St. Scholastica for 26 years. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, and her Master of Science degree in Therapeutic Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to working at St. Scholastica, Nancy worked for 12 years as an occupational therapist with the Duluth Public Schools. From 2000 - 2008 Nancy worked as a consultant to a Fetal Alcohol Diagnostic Program and worked for Pathways to Achievement as a home-based therapist from 2015-2017. Nancy’s teaching responsibilities have focused primarily on pediatric occupational therapy. Nancy’s scholarship and research interests include: the role of occupational therapy in facilitating social participation in children with diverse cognitive and behavioral needs, the effectiveness of video modeling for children with ASD and the scholarship of teaching.
Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and Assistant Professor: Michele Karen Johnson joined The College of St. Scholastica Department of Occupational Therapy as an Assistant Professor in January 2016. She practiced as an Occupational Therapist in the Duluth area for 16 years prior to her start with the college. She is currently the Interim Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, but has taught courses throughout the curriculum in the OT Department at the College of St. Scholastica.
Michele earned her Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in August of 2015. In 1999, Michele received her first degree of Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of North Dakota. Michele is a member of both The American Occupational Therapy Association and the Minnesota Occupational Therapy Association.
Michele brings a broad knowledge base to the occupational therapy department. Her first eight years of practice she developed her generalist skills in both hospital-based settings and skilled nursing facilities. During this time, she developed a skill set specifically in treatment of the adult and elderly populations. In 2007, Michele took on a role as School Occupational Therapist for a local Duluth School district. She practiced in this setting through December 2016, while solidifying her skills as a pediatric occupational therapist.
Michele is a member of the Roster of Accreditation Evaluators for the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education. Michele is involved with the Duluth Alzheimer’s Association as a volunteer coordinator for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. She also is dedicated to number of service opportunities within the college.
Dr. Kaisa Syvaoja joined The College of St. Scholastica Occupational Therapy Program full-time faculty in 2020. Prior to her current role, she taught for CSS in an adjunct capacity. She has been practicing occupational therapy in a variety of settings from outpatient clinics, skilled nursing facilities, and school and early intervention programs. Her primary focus and areas of expertise has been in pain management, visual integration, and hypermobility.
Kaisa holds her OTD from Creighton University. She is an active member of the Minnesota Occupational Therapy Association (MOTA), member of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), member of the Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity (COTAD), and certified with the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. (NBCOT). She serves as a peer reviewer and patient expert for the International Ehlers Danlos Society and is active within the community.
Her research interests include addressing hypermobility related concerns and their impact on functional outcomes, chronic pain and functional limitations, and addressing health literacy across the lifespan. She is a contributing author in the textbook Occupational Therapy with Elders: Strategies for the COTA (4th ed.) and has presented at various occupational therapy conferences.
Adjuncts are listed during semesters in which they teach.