Lacy Karo

Lacy Karo

President’s Scholar

Occupational Therapy
College of Applied Sciences & Arts


Why did you choose your major?

I decided to pursue an occupational therapy degree while I was working as a preschool teacher. I was taking a class about children with special needs and I was introduced to the profession by an occupational therapist that came to speak to our class. I was instantly interested in the profession, and the more I learned about it, the more I realized that I had found the right career for me.  


What does receiving this particular award mean to you?

Receiving the President’s Scholar Award is a great honor. It serves as a reminder of all the work and effort that I have put into doing well in school. Earning the President’s Scholar Award humbles me and makes me grateful to be pursuing a degree in something I am so passionate about.  I share this award with the people in my life who have made it possible for me to earn it. 


Who has been instrumental in your life and/or who has contributed to your academic success?

My son, Oden, has been instrumental in keeping me motivated to do well in school. I hope to set an example for him about how to work for what he wants in life and the importance of doing something that is meaningful, regardless of the work it takes to do it.  

My husband, Paul, my mother, and my husband’s grandparents have all been vital to my success in school as well. They have always supported me and helped with childcare as my schedule changes every semester. They believe in me, and cheer me on when I need encouragement.  Without their ongoing support at home, earning this award wouldn’t have been possible.

The professors in the Occupational Therapy Department have also been fundamental to my success at SJSU. They make the material interesting and applicable, and they allow themselves to be accessible to the students when we need support. I am grateful to have such highly regarded occupational therapists as teachers, mentors, and future colleagues. 


Did you overcome any hardships or adversities during your life, that has helped shape who you are today?  And if so, could you please briefly elaborate?

I am the first person in my family to go to college. This has been somewhat of a hardship for me to overcome because I don’t have anyone in my family to go to for advice on how to navigate higher education. Being a college student while also being a parent of a young child has been difficult at times as well. I have had to learn to manage my time to get my schoolwork done while still having time to take care of my son. Again, the support of my husband and my family has made it possible for me to continue achieving academic success.


What would you say to other students to encourage or inspire them to attain academic excellence?

I would like to tell other students that school is what you make it. Even if a required class doesn’t seem as if it will be fulfilling, make it worth your time. Find ways to learn something that will better yourself as a person and make you a better professional. To those students who are also parents, I want to encourage them to continue being role models for their children. It is important that we show our children that we can better our future and are willing to put in the work necessary to achieve our goals.


Where would you like to be in 5-10 years?

In 5-10 years, I would like to be working as a full-time occupational therapist. I also would like to continue being involved in my son’s school and in the community. I consider myself a lifelong learner, and I plan to continue my role as a student, learning how to better myself, as well as how to be a better therapist.


A few words from her nominating professor:

“Lacy is a mother of a young son. She is active in our student OT association with great leadership skills”.

- Professor Pamela Richardson