Students Have Fun in the Charleston Area

This is the first in a series of posts about fun activities in the Charleston, West Virginia area.  See how our students, faculty, and staff spend their free time. 

Sarah Bostic, Class of 2016, shares a couple of the activities that she and her husband Josh, also Class of 2016, like to participate in when they are taking a study break.

Bostic, Sarah

For some, the city of Charleston and the surrounding areas may not seem very fun or interesting, but if you take the time to explore you will find that there are many activities to do.

A great place to check out in Charleston is the Capitol Market in downtown Charleston. The Capitol Market offers a variety of stores and a few restaurants. Some of the stores include a marketplace store that features products grown or made in WV. Bostic, JoshuaThere is also a Swiss chocolatier and a wine and cheese store.  The Wine and Cheese Shop hosts wine tastings periodically on Sunday afternoons. A few other stores include a fresh meat and fish store and The Purple Onion. The Purple Onion is a great store with fresh produce from the state along with fresh spices and many other interesting items that can sometimes be hard to find.  Outside is a large farmer’s market with seasonal produce, plants and flowers, and even Christmas trees, all from local farmers.


Soho’s Italian Restaurant in the Capital Market:

Holl’s Swiss Chocolatier:

The Wine and Cheese Shop:

Just recently, my husband and I discovered a small racetrack in Southside, WV (about 45 minutes from the school). The Kanawha Valley Motorsports Park is quite small but they have races just about every weekend. Not to mention there is also a dirt track at the same location. We were surprised at how many people, cars, and dragsters that were there to race. It only costs $10 a person to enter but there are usually hours of racing that you can watch and there are concessions if you get hungry.

Dragway website:

So don’t give up on Charleston before you get here, because there are many things to do if you just go out and look. And watch for more posts to see how students relax in WV.

Tips for Writing Your PharmCAS Personal Statement

Concerned about writing your personal statement for your PharmCAS application? UCSOP wants to help!  It’s actually simple – start by thinking of your personal statement as a story about you—specifically, your academic and personal journey. Be sure to include commentary and reflection on how your academic and personal experiences have led up to you wanting to become a pharmacist. Your story should focus on:

  1. YOU! Talk about yourself. This one of the rare occasions in life you have to actually write about YOU! Take advantage of this opportunity. Explain why you want to be a pharmacist. Talk about the academic, personal and/or work experiences that have led you this point in your academic career.
  2. Setting yourself apart. Explain how you are different! Committees are looking for something personal as well as analytical. This might require you to disclose information you would not normally share and/or examine your life (successes and failures) more critically.
  3. Pharmacy. The writing prompt for PharmCAS is specific in that it asks applicants to discuss why they want to pursue a career in pharmacy. In order to capture the attention of committees, it is important to include discussion on why being a pharmacist is important to you. Has it been a life-long dream? Was there an experience or event that led you down this path? Share those things with details to demonstrate your commitment to pharmacy practice.

Still have writer’s block? Brainstorm! Get out a paper (any paper) and a writing implement (pen, crayon, marker—whatever is nearby) and start answering some of these basic questions:

  • What is special, unique, distinctive, or impressive about your life story? Do you have notable accomplishments? Have you traveled the world? Do you volunteer to work with patients at a local hospital? Do you currently work in a pharmacy? You get where I’m going here . . . BRAINSTORM!
  • Why are you interested in pharmacy? What area of practice might you like to pursue? Community pharmacy? Academic pharmacy? Managed care? Hospital? (Find out more about career options in pharmacy by visiting:
  • What work experiences do you have in relationship to pharmacy practice? If you haven’t worked in a pharmacy, what other types of work experiences will help you when working with patients or just with the rigor of the academic program (interpersonal skills, caregiving skills, attention-to-detail, etc.)?
  • What obstacles or hardships (personal, professional, academic) have you encountered along your journey?
  • What skills/characteristics do you possess—leadership, perseverance, enthusiasm, integrity, etc. that will allow you to be successful?
  • Why should the admissions committee be interested in you in particular? Again, brainstorm some ideas. Past academic excellence? Job-related experience? Personal experience?

WRITE! After brainstorming, it’s time to write! You may find it helpful to make an outline using your brainstorming ideas.  Organize your thoughts with a strong introductory paragraph. Tell the committee who you are but also consider how your story relates to the desire to join the pharmacy profession. And don’t forget to PROOFREAD. Share with others too! Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes will catch mistakes you do not. Be sure not to hit submit until you are certain there aren’t any grammatical or content errors. And, above all, always be sure that your personal statement is just that, YOURS. Never copy or borrow another person’s work. This can delay your application or even stop the application process altogether!

Additional things to consider:

  • Be mindful of the required word limit
  • Proofread (more than once)
  • Be sure to connect your discussion to pharmacy
  • Be honest, open and truthful (but don’t overshare—you don’t want to include things that might cause a committee to question your judgment)
  • Don’t write for a specific school*

Good luck with your application and your essay!

*The PharmCAS personal statement is intended for all schools to which you are applying.


Dr. Susan M. Gardner, Assistant Dean for Professional and Student Affairs

University of Charleston School of Pharmacy


Pharmacy Student Enjoys Living in On-campus Apartments

  Class of 2016 student pharmacist Jenny Byerly writes

      about the convenience of living on campus

If someone were to ask me what it’s like to live in East Apartments, I would say that it is a great place to stay focused with school.  The East Apartment complex provides a couple of different types of apartments, such as single, double, and four-person apartments.  I personally live in a four-person apartment with three of my classmates.  We each have our own bedroom and share a bathroom with one other person in the room.  We have a spacious kitchen and a decent size living room as well.  Also, East provides us with two study rooms on each floor for all the residents to use.  East is located right across the street from the Pharmacy building, which makes it easy to return to school if something goes wrong with your computer or if you have a question for a professor after class.  Living with other students in my class is also beneficial because it allows us to collaborate on assignments and help each other study for exams.  Overall, living in East has been a great experience.

Jenny's living room in the East Apartments

Jenny’s living room in the East Apartments

Jenny's kitchen

Jenny Byerly Class of 2016

Jenny Byerly Class of 2016

Extra information:  Graduate students have first choice of the East Apartments.  If you would like more information about living in the East Apartments, please contact Stacie Geise or Dr. Susan Gardner in the Office of Student and Professional Affairs.


Students Become the Teachers – P4 Academic Rotation

Alesha Loudermilk and Brian Holmes Share Their Rotation Experiences

One interesting aspect of P4 rotations is the chance to choose elective rotations. This helps students see a variety of pharmacy settings. During our P4 year, we were able to match one of our elective positions with Dr. Michelle Herdman, a faculty member here at UCSOP. This 5-week academic rotation helped give us insight on what it is like to be on the other side of academia; we became the teacher as opposed to being the student. A few activities we did on this rotation included creating a lecture, presenting this pharmacology lecture to second-year pharmacy students, making a mock syllabus for an elective course, designing a pharmacology-based case, and developing quiz and test questions. These activities helped us gain understanding of exactly how much time and effort teachers put into their classes. Academia is a great route to take in pharmacy because it is one of the best ways to give back to profession. As a teacher and instructor, you are helping future pharmacists learn the necessary skills and objectives they need in order to contribute to the profession.

P4 Student Brian Holmes lecturing on anti-seizure medications to P2 pharmacology students.

P4 student Brian Holmes lecturing on anti-seizure medications to P2 pharmacology students.

P4 student Alesha Loudermilk teaching P2 pharmacology students about antidepressants.

P4 student Alesha Loudermilk teaching P2 pharmacology students about antidepressants.

Alesha – “I am currently looking into residencies and am considering ones that offer teaching certificates. This academic rotation helped strengthen my desire to pursue academia in my future.”