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Justin Reed


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Though I worked my way through college after high school and achieved a degree in journalism, it was never truly my passion. I've tried a number of career paths over the years, but nothing has stuck with me. My mom has MS, and it has deeply shaped who I am as a person. It recently hit me that the field of occupational therapy is a perfect fit for my skill set. I learned compassion, patience, and the wonderful feeling I get from helping others. I'm a positive and curious person, and I'm great with people. This has come in quite handy over the years as as a bartender in between other pursuits. I love being active and enjoy tennis, rock climbing, lifting weights, and fitness in general. I am very excited to start this next chapter in my life as an occupational therapy assistant! I am most interested in working with people who struggle with substance abuse.


AmeriTech College-Draper

Associate's degree program
2023 - 2024
  • Majors:
    • Rehabilitation and Therapeutic Professions, General
  • GPA:

Nevada State College

Bachelor's degree program
2000 - 2007
  • Majors:
    • Journalism


  • Desired degree level:

    Associate's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Rehabilitation and Therapeutic Professions, General
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Health, Wellness, and Fitness

    • Dream career goals:

      Occupational Therapy Assistant

      Robert F. Lawson Fund for Careers that Care
      I’m a nontraditional 42-year-old student returning to college after many years. Though I paid my way through a journalism degree after high school, I never pursued a related career. Throughout my 20s and 30s, I tried several different paths, including EMT training and working at a non-profit that provided services to in-need children, but nothing seemed to stick. My growing dependence on alcohol held me back most of my adult life until I got sober in 2022. My brain is more straightforward, and I have the drive and motivation to finally go after what I believe is my true path, which is to give back and help others. My mom has Multiple Sclerosis (MS), diagnosed when I was seven years old. My childhood involved helping her with the day-to-day things she could no longer do. Being a caretaker became the norm for me. This experience taught me to be patient compassionate, not take things for granted, and so much more. It taught me that helping others is also helping myself. Nothing in my life has impacted me more profoundly than this, and I’m proud of the values it instilled in me. After I completed a detox program and got sober, I took advantage of the resources given to me. I saw a psychiatrist and counselor regularly. I kept in touch with a few people from the program and assisted them in their recovery process. Taking these actions invoked the memory of an occupational therapist coming to my house to work with my mom when she was diagnosed with MS. I remembered the interventions used to make life easier for my mom and restore a sense of independence and purpose inside of her. I would help the therapist with these interventions and encourage her to complete her tasks. I remember my mom telling me what a great occupational therapist I would be. Being sober put me in a position to take stock of my future. I was still bartending, and I knew I had to change careers. The thought of going back to school was scary, daunting, and intangible. I was barely paying rent on time, which was a hurdle, but finding an educational choice worth putting myself into significant debt was a brick wall. My partner noticed how unhappy I was, and on a whim, we started to explore some ideas. Occupational therapy popped up as an option, and I knew it was the career for me. It is incredible to have returned to a place where I'm ready to give back in this way. Getting the training to become an occupational therapy assistant will put me in a position to make a difference in people's lives. Every day, I will have the opportunity to inspire, motivate, energize, and incite positivity. Due to my background, I’m especially interested in helping other people with their substance abuse issues. I’m in my second semester of an occupational therapy assistant program at Joyce University. I earned straight As in my first semester, and being awarded this scholarship would help me continue this success.
      Spider-Man Showdown Scholarship
      Miles Morales, voiced by Shameik Moore, from “Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse” is the best Spiderman to hit the big screen. Miles is the combined cartoon embodiment of the best aspects of Tobey Maguire, Tom Holland, and Andrew Garfield’s Spiderman. His story and individuality set him aside as the premier Spiderman. Tobey Maguire’s Spiderman faces many tough decisions. These are not typical superhero decisions, like who gets saved first, but hard choices that cost him personally. Tobey’s Spiderman chooses not to reveal his identity to Aunt Mae and MJ to protect them even though it causes resentment towards him as Peter Parker. Miles’ dad was a police officer who viewed Spiderman as a dangerous vigilante. Like Tobey’s Spiderman, Miles had to decide to conceal who he was to those he loved the most despite the personal ramifications. Miles has the wit and humor of Andrew Garfield’s Spiderman. An ability to make humorous quips during battles and an innocent charisma are characteristics of all Spidermen. Miles and Andrew exemplify these mannerisms. The scene in which Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man playfully puts his basketball skills on display, all while exchanging clever banter with the other team, captures the character's happy-go-lucky and self-assured nature. Likewise, Miles’ interactions with Peter B. Parker and lighthearted quips during the Kingpin fight highlight his ability to confront uncomfortable situations with humor. Comparatively, Miles is younger than the other Spidermen. Like Tom Holland’s Spiderman, his youth allows the audience to get a front-row seat to what it is like to navigate adolescence in the wake of becoming a superhero. Miles and Tom’s versions explore what it would be like to have friendships as an adolescent superhero and have superhero mentors in Peter B. Parker and Tony Stark, respectively. In addition to embodying the other three Spiderman, Miles has attributes that make him stand out. Spiderman has the typical Spiderman superpowers in the first three sets of movies. Miles’ Spiderman has all these powers plus the ability to turn invisible and generate and control bio-electric threads that emit from his fingers called “venom blasts.” His African-American and Puerto Rican heritage also adds diversity to the Spiderman Universe. One could argue that Miles had a team of Spidermen to help him, but let us remember that the team abandoned Miles and told him that he was not good enough. Miles found the strength to break his restraints and join the team, saving the multiverse and sending everyone home safely. By incorporating the best character traits of the three previous Spidermen and adding power-superiority, diversity, and personal resolution, Miles Morales swings his way into being the best Spiderman that we have witnessed.
      Lost Dreams Awaken Scholarship
      Growing up, giving back to the community was a family pastime. My father and grandfather organized two extremely successful food basket programs on Thanksgiving and Christmas through the VFW. My mother has Multiple Sclerosis, and through The MS Society, I got involved with the adaptive ski school at Alpine Valley ski resort. That became my happy place. I always left the ski resort feeling better than the people I helped. Addiction slowly started to take this away from me. I started showing up to the ski lessons hung over and then stopped scheduling myself for lessons at all. The repercussions of my actions made me ineligible for the next two seasons. I chose alcohol over helping people. A year and a half ago, I decided to go to detox. I was out of control, scared, alone, and in desperate need of resources, but I was determined to recover. Being around others in need reignited my desire to give back. By the end of the detox program, I was helping clean, serving food, and doing anything I could to help the other patients. Having a clear and sober mind has inspired me to change careers. With the help and support of my partner, I have revisited my childhood dream of working in occupational therapy, specifically with those who have substance abuse issues. It feels fantastic to have returned to a place where I'm ready to give back in this way.
      “Stranger Things” Fanatic Scholarship
      The latest supernatural monstrosity to threaten the resilient community of Hawkins, Indiana, is none other than the formidable Labracabra. This adorable yet frightening creature lures humans with its wagging tail and playfulness. But before anyone realizes what’s happening, the rest of the swarm creeps in, teeth-baring and wings spread. What initially appears as man’s best friend morphs into a nightmare that is more threatening than anything Hawkins has yet to face. Our villain, the Labracabra, has wings but can’t fly long distances. But this ability to be airborne for even short periods gives them a huge advantage. They’re known to attack victims and drink their blood before ripping the carcasses to shreds and spreading them around the land as though they’re crematory ashes of a long-lost loved one. It’s easy to understand why the town is in a state of despair, faced by such a horrible group of flying fanged fools. Bringing a sense of calm to all of those scared townspeople, however, is the news of the dream team who has been called to defend the town, protect the people in it, and kick the crap out of the Labracabras. This all-star cast of soldiers consists of Jim Hopper, Dustin Henderson, and, last but not least, Erica Sinclair. Not surprisingly, Hopper will be leading this collection of combatants. He’s a big fella; his background includes fighting in Vietnam, being a Police Chief, and overcoming tragedies. Hopper is gruff yet kind-hearted, savvy, and confident. He knows how to kick the butt of any variety, and did I mention he’s a giant of a man? This guy is a lovely blend of qualities to bring the team together, fight the good fight, and encourage the others to do what they do best. Next up in this fierce faction is none other than Dustin Henderson, everybody’s favorite nerdy underdog. It’s easy to underestimate this lad, partly due to his underdeveloped teeth resulting from a genetic disorder. But this young man is always full of surprises and has a ton of random knowledge on things like short-wave radios, outer space, chemistry, and countless other areas. Dustin will no doubt be the one to come up with an insightful solution to bring down the liverish Labracabras. Rounding out this illustrious trio is little Erica Sinclair. She’s Lucas's little sister, one of Dustin and Will’s friends, but don’t let her stature and age fool you - she is tenacious as all get out. She is cunning, brilliant, adaptable, and an all-around hero. Erica will challenge her older teammates and push them to their limits - in a good way (mostly). It’s possible that she will tease and torment some of the Labracabras so much that they fly away with their tails between their legs.
      Netflix and Scholarships!
      It surprises me to say that the series that was the most binge-able for me in the past year was Glow Up, a competitive reality show for make-up artists. I turned on my first episode on a whim, as I have virtually no interest in make-up. But it looked colorful and exciting, and I love British shows, so I thought it had potential. There are many endearing elements to Glow Up. The make-up artists (MUAs for short, as we learn quickly) are interesting and likable and come to the show from various lifestyles. They’re gay, straight, male, female, wacky, creative, innovative, serious, playful. They all share a passion for their craft, which ultimately is the best part of the show. I love watching a person excel at what they do best, especially when it’s imaginative and visually entertaining. Professional Britain-based MUAs Dominic Skinner and Val Garland are the judges and have their quirks. Skinner wears a different crazy, graphic sweater each episode, and I look forward to seeing it. Motifs have included giant safety pins, 3-D fuzzy pompoms, metallic cheetah print, and functional oversized googly eyes. And let’s not forget his petite handlebar mustache, which is always perfectly groomed. I think of Garland as the stern judge with a heart of gold. She can come off a bit steely when critiquing the MUAs, but she’s pure mushy goodness inside. Her catchphrase, “Ding dong, darling,” will never leave your brain once you’ve heard it. She reserves this as praise for exceptional make-up, which might happen once per show or not at all. An MUA who hears this from Garland knows they have knocked it out of the park. Each episode has two parts. The first challenge pits the artists against one another in a real-world challenge that involves a fashion magazine, TV series, or something else pop-culture-related that involves make-up. For this challenge, the artists work on location or on set, following whatever the brief is. These can range from doing period pieces to make-up for a theatrical production to an artistic photo shoot for a magazine. There is quite a bit of variation in these segments, showing off the versatility of some of the MUAs. The second challenge is in the studio and is more personal to the artists. The judges present them with a make-up that reflects one of the four elements, represents what freedom means to them, or tells the story of a pivotal moment in their lives. In this part of the show, we really get to know the contestants. We learn about them as people and see the techniques they do best. When they can communicate visually, it gets to the heart of what the show is about - creativity and personal expression. Make-up, as I have learned, is not just of the beauty variety we see in Loreal commercials, on fashion magazine covers, or on the faces of people trying to look their best. It can also be genuinely artistic. The artistry is the core of what is so wonderful about the show and why I’m happy I decided to give this show a try. Glow Up demonstrates the countless ways artistic vision can express itself, including on our faces.