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Awards / Honors

Celebrate! CSU Milestone: Patricia Stutz-Tanenbaum, 25 years

April 11, 2013
By Enes Ozekin

CSU is honoring faculty and staff who have reached service milestones during the 2012-2013 fiscal year at the annual Celebrate! CSU Milestones event, 3-5 p.m. on Thursday, May 9, in the Lory Student Center Theatre.

Patricia Stutz-Tanenbaum with scarf sellers in Grand Bazaar Istanbul.Patricia Stutz-Tanenbaum spent her early years living in Kansas. One of four siblings, she was the daughter of a teacher and physician.

“I came from a primarily healthcare-oriented family, and that really influenced my decisions,” Stutz-Tanenbaum said.

“I can see a connection between my siblings and myself in complementary careers. I have an older sister in occupational therapy who also attended the University of Kansas and she influenced me to go into the field at the same school,” she said.  “It just looked so cool and creative blending art with science, which was really enamoring to me. My other sister is an oncology nurse and my brother is a pharmacist.”

Looking for a Challenge

After college, Stutz-Tanenbaum wanted to live her life-long dream of moving to Colorado.

“Our family has a summer cabin in Estes Park, and we visited every year,” she said.

Patricia Stutz-Tanenbaum with son Griff and husband Marc Tanenbaum at the ancient library in Ephesus, Turkey.So, Stutz-Tanenbaum took a job as an occupational therapist in Saint Vrain Valley School District in Longmont. After working there for 10 years, she decided it was best to continue her education.

“Working in our field, we were told that our knowledge base would be outdated within five years,” she said.

Stutz-Tanenbaum attended the Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Master’s Program at CSU. After graduating, she applied for a job as an Academic Fieldwork Coordinator in the Occupational Therapy Department at CSU, which is the position she has held for the last 25 years.

“The interesting thing to me when coming to CSU was to be challenged out of my comfort zone and not be the top dog like I was at my previous job,” Stutz-Tanenbaum said. “I don’t need to be up top; I need to be challenged and achieve professionally.”

Striving for Excellence

Stutz-Tanenbaum says she strives to design curriculum to help her students become successful after graduation.

“I have to put myself back into the student’s shoes all of the time,” Stutz-Tanenbaum said.  “In order to be an effective teacher, I need to find ways to challenge students so they are prepared to be OT practitioners.  I find myself checking in with students in order to continually refine coursework to make it meaningful. 

“Just being a sponge in the classroom is not acceptable anymore,” she added. “Students are expected to get real-life experiences through fieldwork and to build upon the professional knowledge base, working as colleagues. The environment around you can create barriers for everyday life. Occupational therapy is about figuring out ways to overcome these barriers and improve quality of life.  We really try to reach out to the community and find a way to give back.”

To personally congratulate a Milestones honoree or group of honorees, please email your celebratory message to no later than Tuesday, May 7. Your message might be used during the Celebrate! CSU Milestones event on May 9.


Contact: Brent Waugh