Pharmacy Students and Faculty Enjoy an Evening of Celebration

Contributed by: Jenny Long, Class of 2017

The spring semester at the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy is always full of celebration, with some of the most anticipated events being the Rites of Passage Ceremony, Honors & Awards, and the Pharmacy Gala. This spring, the Rites of Passage Ceremony was held on April 15th in the Geary Auditorium at UC, while the Pharmacy Gala was held immediately after the ceremony in the Rotunda and Erma Byrd Art Gallery.

 

P3 Seol Park poses for a picture with retiring faculty member Dr. Dennis K. Flaherty

P3 Seol Park poses for a picture with retiring faculty member Dr. Dennis K. Flaherty

The Rites of Passage Ceremony recognizes P3 students by presenting them with a pin to wear on their white coats as they end their didactic curriculum and start P4 rotations. Many P3s, including Renee Neidich, were honored to receive this recognition as a result of the hard work and dedication needed to receive it. “This pin may not look like much, but it shows three years of hard work, dedication, long days with sleepless nights, breakdowns and tears, and smiles and good times.”

The pin received at the Rites of Passage Ceremony not only represents the hard work students have put into their pharmacy school careers, it also signifies a new chapter in their lives for the upcoming school year. Renee says, “It signifies the end of my didactic (in class), years of pharmacy school and opens the road for the last leg of my journey: P4 rotations and a year packed with experience and learning. This pin may not look like much, but it means the world to me.”

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Faculty members Drs. Sarah Embrey, Karrie Juengel, Michelle Knight, and Alice Gahbauer strike a pose in the photo booth at the Pharmacy Gala.

In addition to the Rites of Passage, several students received awards and scholarships during the Honors & Awards Ceremony. Katie Oliver, a recipient of the Leadership Award and the Rita Carrico Memorial Scholarship, says that being awarded two scholarships was a highlight of the night. “Accepting two scholarships at The Rites of Passage Ceremony was a wonderful way to end my P3 year! Being recognized for the hours of hard work put into this curriculum, and experiencing that with my family, is a wonderful experience that I am grateful for.” Katie also says that the scholarship money rewarded at the Honors & Awards Ceremony will be helpful in paying for the expenses of the upcoming year of rotations. “I am so thankful for the scholarships and opportunities provided to me, as they will help immensely during my P4 clinical rotations.”

After the ceremony, students attended the Pharmacy Gala to enjoy a night of celebration with their classmates and families. This is the first year the event was held immediately after the Honors and Awards and Rites of Passage Ceremony, but Pharmacy Gala chair Sydney Bailey feels that the Pharmacy Gala was a great success. “I thought we had a great turnout and I think it was a great idea to have it right after the Honors and Awards and Rites of Passage Ceremony!”

P1 students Rachel Peaytt and Kathryn Howerton sign a picture to be gifted to retiring faculty member Dr. Dennis K. Flaherty.

P1 students Rachel Peaytt and Kathryn Howerton sign a picture to be gifted to retiring faculty member Dr. Dennis K. Flaherty.

Activities taking place at the Pharmacy Gala included signing a picture to give to retiring faculty member Dr. Dennis K. Flaherty, a DJ, heavy hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, and a photo booth. According to Sydney, all of these activities were popular among students, “The rotunda turned out beautiful, and everyone seemed to love the decorations and photo booth!”

Planning the Pharmacy Gala was a great experience for Sydney, along with co-chair Linda Nguyen and committee members P1s Jasiris Boccheciamp, Nneoma Imo, Kelcey Duerson, and Sara Yagodich. “Planning the Pharmacy Gala this year was a lot of fun, and it was rewarding to see the event come together when the day finally arrived,” Sydney said. “I cannot wait to see what the future holds for upcoming Pharmacy Galas.”

Almuna Spotlight! Life After Pharmacy School: Dr. Allison Richmond Williams

Contributed by: Jenny Long, Class of 2017

As a current fourth year pharmacy student at UCSOP, I often look forward to the day I graduate in 2017. I am excited for the day when I can put my pharmacy education into practice and utilize the information I have learned over these past few years while completing the pharmacy curriculum. I know I am not the only pharmacy student looking forward to the day we will finally be pharmacists, so I reached out to UCSOP alumnus Allison Williams (formerly Richmond) from the Class of 2015 for an Alumna Spotlight feature. Dr. Williams was generous enough to grant us an interview detailing her life after graduation to show us there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Joseph and Allison Williams at graduation in May 2015.

Joseph and Allison Williams at graduation in May 2015.

Q: Please tell us a little bit about yourself! Where are you from? Any hobbies or interests?

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Drs. Allison and Joseph Williams

Dr. Williams: My name is Allison Williams and I live in Charleston, WV with my husband and UCSOP alumnus Joseph Williams. I’m originally from Talcott, WV and moved to this area after graduation. I am employed by Wal-Mart Pharmacy and currently serve as a floating pharmacist working at multiple stores in the area. I am also serving as an alumni member of the UCSOP Fellows Advisory Board. I enjoy spending my days off with my husband when we get them together! I also enjoy reading, baking, singing, and hanging out with friends.

Q: Could you tell us a little bit about your duties as a pharmacist? What’s your daily life? Do you enjoy your job? How do you feel about taking on students as a preceptor?

Dr. Williams: As a floating pharmacist, I go to multiple stores during the week to help out during vacations and busy times. My day consists of verifying prescriptions, counseling and talking to patients, giving immunizations, talking to other healthcare professionals, and working with the technicians. I also have the opportunity to do MTM at some stores. I do enjoy my job, and it is very rewarding to help patients understand their medications. In the future when I am at one store all the time I would be willing to take students, but as of now it is too hard as a floating pharmacist.

Q: We recently heard you were married! How do you handle or maintain a balance between work and your personal life?

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Allison and Joseph Williams on their wedding day. Photo by Meredith Dickens.

Dr. Williams: Joseph and I got married in July 2015 in Charleston. At first it was hard to balance the time, but now it has become a lot easier. We don’t always have the same days off each week. Whenever we do share a day off together we try to enjoy each other’s company and do something fun. Since we are both pharmacists it is easy to get caught up in talking about work, but we have learned to takeq time to talk about the other things going on in our lives. Balancing work and personal life is challenging, but in the end its worthwhile to set aside time to enjoy our life together.

Q: Could you take us back to when you were a student at UCSOP? What was your favorite class? What was the most challenging class for you? Any suggestions for current students?

Dr. Williams: I had a strong interest in infectious disease so I really enjoyed the portion of Pharmacotherapy III taught by Dr. Robinson. I also really enjoyed Bad Bugs taught by Dr. Flaherty my P1 year. I would say that one of my most challenging classes was Immunology as a P1. For current students, it’s important to find the study method that works for you. Once you find that, stick with it and you will do just fine with the material!

Allison and Joseph Williams. Photo by Meredith Dickens.

Allison and Joseph Williams. Photo by Meredith Dickens.

Q: Do you have any other long-term goals or dreams?

Dr. Williams: I hope to be able to settle down into one store instead of floating between pharmacies. Joseph and I are also hoping to buy a house soon so that we may begin thinking about starting a family.

We would like to thank Dr. Allison Williams for her help with this post! We wish her the best of luck in her career as a pharmacist!