Finding Greatness: Sharona Rubinstein

Author: News Bureau
Posted: Thursday, February 23, 2023 12:00 AM
Categories: Finding Greatness | School of Health and Natural Sciences | Pressroom | Students

Macon, GA


With the ultimate goal of creating a center for healing arts, Sharona Rubinstein is merging her background as a professional dancer, choreographer, and artistic director with new skills and knowledge gained through MGA’s occupational therapy assistant (OTA) degree program.

Full Name: Sharona Jael Paller Rubinstein.

Hometown: Macon (“I am originally from Phoenix, Arizona.”).

Family: “My husband is Rabbi Aaron Rubinstein, and we have two young adult children, Zohar and Maya.”

Employment/Career Highlights: “I am the founding director and instructor of Creative Dance Adventures – creative dance classes for parents with babies and toddlers. I directed the Stratford Dance Academy afterschool dance program from 2014-2020. I have been a professional dancer, choreographer, artistic director and instructor of dance including modern, ballet, jazz, and international folk dance. I have been the drama director at Ramah Darom Summer Camp since 2010.”

MGA Degree Objective: Associate of Science, Occupational Therapy Assistant.

Other Degrees: B.A. and M.A. in Dance from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Class Rank: Senior.

Primary Campus: Cochran.

Activities: “I’m a member of the OTA student organization. I performed in one theater production under the direction of Stephen Wisker, theater director for the MGA Theater program. I am involved in my synagogue as the choir director and a Sunday school teacher.  I also sing with my husband, the Rabbi, during our services.”

Career Goals: “My goal is to bring science and the arts together to make lives better for all people. I believe that the performing and fine arts can bring people of diverse backgrounds together to lift up all human beings. I am now seeking to use my creative skills as a performer, choreographer, and instructor of performing arts, and apply them as I earn first a degree as an OTA, and then pursue the full master’s in OT bridge program at MGA. It is my dream to one day open a therapeutic arts center here in Middle Georgia that would use the arts as the means of collaborative treatment for occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech language pathology, and psychology that will serve all people.”

She chose Middle Georgia State University because … “It offered an excellent and well-established occupational therapy assistant program right here in Middle Georgia where I live with my husband, and close to my adult children. Since this is a second career for me, I am not interested in moving away from my family for long periods of time.  It is not my first college experience, so I knew what I was looking for, and MGA offered what I needed to help me move toward my goals.”  

The greatest thing she discovered about Middle Georgia State was …The amazing course offerings and the excellent faculty. I was very impressed with how the MGA staff and faculty welcomed me as a non-traditional student. It made my transition to becoming a full time student again after many years away from academia not as intimidating as I thought it would be. My OTA cohort has also been supportive and a pleasure to work with. I have learned so much from them, and I wouldn’t have come this far without them. My fieldwork supervisors at Atrium Navicent Medical Center Acute Care have given me the hands-on experience that is putting everything I learned at MGA into real world situations. They have been patient, understanding and incredible role models as OT professionals. I am truly grateful for their guidance.”

Her greatest academic experience as a Middle Georgia State student has been … “Creating dance interventions for my Innovative Practice course this past fall semester.  All OTA students are encouraged and expected to find innovative ways to bring occupational therapy (OT) to populations and/or businesses that otherwise have not experienced OT. For my innovative project I created a therapeutic arts week at the Brookdale Resource Center, a shelter for people experiencing homelessness.  I provided treatments using dance, journaling, and art collage to help families and adults with stress management, and to provide a fun and healthy means of physical exercise and social connection. I was very moved by the positive response I received from the amazing people I worked with at the Resource Center.  It helped strengthen my resolve to continue on this journey that I began a few years ago.”

To her, greatness means … “Understanding that there are important matters in the world that are greater than any one person. When any one individual collaborates with other like-minded people, it becomes possible to accomplish great things that will make the world a better place.  In the Jewish faith, we believe that saving one person is like saving an entire world.  In occupational therapy, we believe that every human being deserves unconditional positive regard. Finding greatness means looking beyond one’s limitations, and joining with others to take small steps, one person at a time, to build a world with peace, liberty and justice for all.”  

In five years … “In the first five years after I graduate I will first practice as a licensed COTA working with children and adults. Ultimately, I plan on collaborating with other therapy professionals to create our own center for healing arts that would incorporate fine and performing arts for children and adults of all ages. Personally, I look forward to spending time with my family, watching my adult children grow in their own careers, and continuing my involvement with our synagogue.”