Student Spotlight: Sumita Rege

Sumita Rege is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, she had earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in occupational therapy from Mumbai University and practiced as an occupational therapist in Mumbai, India for seven years.

Student Spotlight: Sumita Rege click to enlarge Sumita Rege with her blog onscreen.

During her clinical experience she worked with physically and neurologically impaired adults and developmentally delayed children.   As her curiosity about occupational science flourished, she began looking into doctoral programs and was impressed with the diversity of faculty research interests at UNC.

After moving to Chapel Hill, Rege began to miss the food from her homeland and started looking up recipes online. Each time she searched, the results directed her to a blog. These experiences shaped her fascination with blogging as an occupation and eventually led her to the focus of her dissertation, an ethnography of blogging that explores how the activity develops and changes over time.  Before she began her dissertation research, Rege completed a single case study with an adult with a spinal cord injury examining how search engines shape what people do.

For her dissertation, Rege is interviewing bloggers to better understand what goes into making and maintaining a blog.  “Blogging gives people a meaningful way to connect while also providing a creative outlet for sharing their thoughts,” she said. Rege has enjoyed the journey of learning about blogs and most of all she has loved meeting people. Reflecting on her experiences studying virtual occupations, Rege said “this project took me places I never thought.”

Rege is also currently working with Dr. Katarina Haley, Associate Professor from the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, and Jenny Womack, Associate Professor from the Division of Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science, on a qualitative secondary data analysis to understand how persons with aphasia manage their communication needs.

You can read more about Rege’s research at

-Story by Katie M. Belardi

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