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Margaret Louise Burckes Scholarship Awarded to Husson University Occupational Therapy Student Hailey Hyer

Published on: September 26, 2019

(L to R) Laurie Mouradian, ScD, ATR, OTR/L, Margaret Louise Burckes, Hailey Hyer

Husson University announced today that Hailey Hyer of Pomeroy, Washington, a fifth-year student pursuing her Master of Science in occupational therapy, is this year’s recipient of the Margaret Louise Burckes Scholarship. The scholarship presentation took place at the Richard E. Dyke Center for Family Business on the campus of Husson University in Bangor, Maine on Thursday, September 12, 2019. 

“I was not expecting to receive this scholarship,” said Hyer. “I nearly fell over when they announced my name.” 

Each year, the Burckes Scholarship is given to a Husson student, in good academic standing, who demonstrates a commitment to service and occupational therapy as a profession. Financial need is also taken into consideration. Faculty members in Husson University’s School of Occupational Therapy select the scholarship recipient.   

Hyer is the first person in her family to get a college degree. She figured out how to apply for and receive financial aid on her own. The combination of financial aid and the salary she earned as a private caregiver in Bangor, allowed Hyer to put herself through college.

Interested in a client-centered career, Hyer chose to become an occupational therapist (OT). “I wanted to have a career where I could help people have independence and dignity,” she said. “Earning people’s trust when they’re at their most vulnerable is something I take great pride in. My clients’ willingness to put their confidence in me is always humbling. It changes your life.” 

The scholarship is made possible through the generosity of Margaret Louise Burckes. Burckes career afforded her the opportunity to work in rehabilitation hospitals, nursing homes, and in homecare services with people who had both mental and physical disabilities.

Over the course of her career, Burckes travelled to fifteen countries, including Singapore and Thailand, in order to serve populations in need of occupational therapy (OT) services. Prior to her work in OT, Burckes taught high school biology in Massachusetts and Connecticut. She has lived most of her life in New England and New York State. Burckes strongly supports the work of Compassion International and has sponsored numerous children through this organization. In addition to travel, she enjoys camping, hiking, gardening, photography and is a lover of animals.

Laurie Mouradian, ScD, ATR, OTR/L, chair of the School of Occupational Therapy at Husson University has seen Hyer embrace a similar love of people and animals in her studies. “Hailey brought experience as a caregiver at an assisted living facility and as a therapeutic riding horse-handler volunteer to her occupational therapy studies.” 

According to Mouradian, Hyer’s long-term professional goal is to “combine occupational therapy and animal interactions to create a unique healing environment.” All of this is reflected in her professionalism and commitment here at Husson University in the Occupational Therapy program.” 

“Hailey has demonstrated creativity and adaptability in her graduate work. Her professionalism, caring, compassion, and communication skills made her a good choice for the Margaret Burckes Scholarship award. Hailey exemplifies the dedication and passion that Ms. Burckes has demonstrated in her own professional career,” concluded Mouradian.

Hyer thinks highly of Husson University as well. “Husson is the perfect place for me. Because it’s a smaller school, I’m able to have one-on-one interactions with my professors. I feel like I’m part of a community where I have value. The difference is night and day between the larger school where I completed my undergraduate degree and Husson, where I’m working to earn my Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. I can tell you from personal experience that professors at larger schools don’t connect with their students the way they do here at Husson.” 

The $1,000 Margaret Louise Burckes Scholarship is just one part of a financial assistance tapestry that Husson University makes available to students. Despite being the least expensive four-year private college in New England, according to an analysis of tuition and fees by U.S. News & World Report, over 98 percent of Husson students qualify to receive federal, state, community and/or campus-based financial aid or scholarships. Last year, the university awarded nearly $16 million in institutional-funded grants and scholarships to students. 

Husson University’s School of Occupational Therapy is one of the best sources of professional healthcare education in Maine. The three-year average of Husson University occupational therapy graduates passing their National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) licensing exams is 97 percent.

The field of occupational therapy is a dynamic, growing healthcare profession that helps people maintain, or regain, the ability to participate in tasks associated with daily living. This can include a variety of activities affecting work, play, self-care, or caring for others. Occupational therapists work with people of all ages in a range of settings such as their homes, the community, hospitals and schools. They help people enjoy life to its fullest.

Occupational therapists accomplish this by utilizing creativity, flexibility and problem-solving skills to help people find practical real-life solutions to the challenges they’re facing. For more information about Husson University’s occupational therapy program visit

For more than 120 years, Husson University has prepared future leaders to handle the challenges of tomorrow through innovative undergraduate and graduate degrees. With a commitment to delivering affordable classroom, online and experiential learning opportunities, Husson University has come to represent superior value in higher education. Our Bangor campus and off-campus satellite education centers in Southern Maine, Wells, and Northern Maine, provide advanced knowledge in business; health and education; pharmacy studies; science and humanities; as well as communication. In addition, Husson University has a robust adult learning program. For more information about educational opportunities that can lead to personal and professional success, visit

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