Charlene Woo – Class of 1999

We are so excited to connect with Charlene Woo, a Class of 1999 alumna and Occupational Therapist at a level 1 trauma hospital in NYC, who has a strong passion for helping others bounce back and achieve their full potential.

What year did you graduate from St. John’s School?


What did you do the year following High School graduation?

I attended Pomona College in Claremont, CA.

Can you tell us about the career path you chose after college?

Immediately after college I worked in finance in California. I loved the company and people but hated the job. Now I’m an Occupational Therapist at a level 1 trauma hospital in NYC.

Outside of work, what other activities/organizations are you involved in?

I played volleyball in high school and college and continue to play to this day. I’m also a member of several OT professional organizations and participate in the Frontline Choir of Brave Hearts for Broadway.

What do you enjoy most about your current career position?

I love everything about what I do despite the heartbreak. I work at Bellevue Hospital (inspiration for the TV show New Amsterdam) and we treat everyone regardless of their immigration status or ability to pay. I love knowing that I am helping people who may not otherwise get help after a serious injury or illness. It’s hard work every day but rewarding and I wouldn’t trade any of it.

How did you become interested in your field of study or work?

I was spending some time with friends of mine who had a child who was seeing an OT for feeding issues and a developmental delay. An OT came to their home and worked with the entire family to address his needs. I loved the holistic approach to health care, and treating the whole person and family unit. It was my first exposure to OT as a profession and I haven’t looked back since.

How has attending St. John’s prepared you for success in college and in the workplace?

St. John’s prepared me for a career that relies on critical thinking and questioning everything. We are tasked with gaining knowledge and expanding our breadth of knowledge in school but St. John’s taught us to also develop our depth of knowledge, too.

Do you still keep in touch with your St. John’s School friends?

Yes! We all gee up together and it’s nice to see what everyone has been up to!

What experiences from St. John’s are the most memorable? Do you have a favorite teacher, mentor or counselor?

Oh man. Super typhoon Paka. We were all convinced we would still have finals the next day so a bunch of us got stuck at a friend’s house studying. Poor choices haha. It was fun though!

What would you say to a prospective family who is considering St. John’s School?

St. John’s is a good place to teach your child all the necessary skills to determine their way in life. The lessons I learned and the knowledge I gained, the friendships I’ve made all make for a wonderful experience that will take them far in the world.


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