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NOVA-MEC graduate’s academic research review featured in scholarly publication

Stacie Argade

For the first time, a NOVA student’s evidence-based research has been accepted for online publication in the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) Evidence Exchange.

NOVA graduate Stacie Argade submitted a “Critically Appraised Paper (CAP)” to the AOTA while enrolled in the occupational therapy assistant program (OTA) at NOVA’s Medical Education Campus. Her paper, a review of, “Effects of virtual reality on upper extremity function and activities of daily living performance in acute stroke: A double-blind randomized clinical trial,” was submitted in 2015 and published to the Evidence Exchange last year as a literature review. A MEC student being featured in an AOTA scholarly publication is a first.  

The Evidence Exchange is a grass roots member effort to engage practitioners, educators, students and researchers in both the CAP submission and review process. CAPs are submitted via an online system and undergo a peer review process by individuals who have successfully completed a self-study and training program.  In 2016, NOVA was the only community college in the nation to have a student featured in the Evidence Exchange. 

“Every year in our Occupational Therapy and Physical Disabilities course, our students are required to conduct research on a particular topic,” said Megan Cook, OTA assistant dean/associate professor. “Sometimes we have student’s complete outstanding research and I encourage them to submit it to AOTA, not as a requirement, but just to see what will happen in hopes for the best. Stacie was always a high achiever and she continuously went above and beyond expectations. She was and is still very passionate about the field of occupational therapy, a true difference maker.”

Argade graduated from NOVA in May 2016, yet she is still actively involved with the OTA program on campus. She serves as a tutor for current students enrolled in the program at the MEC. She is also a member of NOVA’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Curriculum Advisory Committee and serves as secretary for the Virginia Occupational Therapy Association (VOTA). The Pennsylvania native said she considered herself to be a non-traditional student since a career change led her to enroll at NOVA.

“I first attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania to earn my degree in interior design and housing, which was my interest at the time,” Argade said. “But when I got married and started to have children, my first son was diagnosed with autism and that’s how I began to learn more about occupational therapy. From the time he started occupational therapy, I decided that I wanted to go back to school to help families who were going through it as well. I currently work at a pediatric site and it helps me to connect with parents on a different level because I know what they are going through.”

As part of the second OTA program cohort of students at the MEC, Argade said attending NOVA allowed her to learn and grow professionally. She commends her instructors for viewing each student as professional peers instead of pupils.

“The instructors in the OTA program recognized that as students we were going to graduate,” Argade said. “They valued our opinion as we were going through the program. We were an instrumental part of helping the fully-accredited program succeed. Honestly, it was like we were a part of something bigger than ourselves.”


Media Contact: Kristina Ogburn, Public Information Office | 703.503.6338



Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.