Amber Gross (Third-Year UCSOP Fellow, Class of 2019). An Introvert’s Perspective

UCSOP Blog Post

-Amber Gross (Third-Year UCSOP Fellow, Class of 2019)


Leadership Opportunities in Pharmacy School:


As a pharmacy student in the final year of the didactic portion of the curriculum, I’ve been looking back on how much I’ve changed since coming to UC. Although I look and talk the same, I see the world through different eyes than I did before embarking on this career path. In this post, I intend to give some insight into the opportunities offered, as well as how they will benefit in the future.


In 2012, I had just started my pre-pharmacy courses which was exciting to finally feel like the things you learn matter. Since my undergraduate was relatively small at the time, leadership opportunities were easy as long as you were willing to take them. When I would go to the student center, I would always see students representing a number of organizations, ready to promote their cause. Although I admired those people for being so outgoing, I always preferred being in the background. At the time, I felt that I didn’t have the skills to perform leadership duties. In my three years of undergraduate studies, I never did participate in a leadership role.


Fast forward to my first year as a pharmacy student, I knew that things would have to change. On our first day, we had to stand in front our class and state who we are and a fun fact about us. This was a turning point for my flying-under-the-radar persona. While being in the Fellows Program, I learned quickly that using my voice was one of my best assets. Through assisting with the interview process, giving tours to prospective students, and working on a research project, I was able to figure out what my leadership style is. With each event I completed, my confidence in my abilities increased.


Now, in my third year of the program, I am participating in three organizations and have taken the lead on several projects/events. As I said before, I feel like I’ve changed so much in such a short period of time. Having these leadership opportunities really shaped me into the student pharmacist that I am today. There are so many things I’ve learned besides pharmacology and pharmacotherapy that will be useful to me as a pharmacist. In conclusion, my advice to upcoming students is to take those opportunities! There is so much you can learn through leadership that you can’t necessarily learn in the classroom. This school has a lot to offer, but the leadership roles available are critical to the growth of the students.

Destination.Pharmacy Week – Final Day

Destination Pharmacy Week Logo

We’ve made it to the end of Destination.Pharmacy Week at the UCSOP.  We thank you for joining us throughout this week and hope you enjoyed hearing from our Faculty, Student Pharmacists and Alumni.

Today, we have two final videos to share with you today.  The first video features Dr. Jessica Robinson,  a practicing pharmacist and faculty member within our Pharmacy Practice Department.  She will be sharing the details on the UCSOP Fellows Program.

The Fellows Program is a scholarship and leadership development program for student pharmacists. This opportunity is awarded up to 10 students in the incoming pharmacy class each year. These students have demonstrated potential to achieve outstanding leadership and success in our program. The Fellows opportunity offers a maximum of a $15,000 scholarship annually to each fellow.  The scholarship is renewable for up to three years if a student meets all requirements while in the program.


The second video is from Dr. David Latif, Department of Pharmaceutical and Administrative Sciences.  He is sharing information on the UCSOP’s PharmD/MBA dual degree program.

If you have any questions, please contact us at: 304-357-4889 or

Destination.Pharmacy Week – Day 4

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We’ve made it to day 4 of Destination Pharmacy Week.

On Monday we shared different career opportunities a student can purse as a pharmacist. Tuesday and Wednesday, we shared a bit about our curriculum and ways we prepare our students to be successful through an emphasis on innovation and leadership. Now today, we are sharing the success students find after graduation.

Over the last few years, we have seen 60% of our students practice in a community setting, 20% practice in a clinical or hospital setting and over 20% earn competitive PGY1 residencies.

Today’s first video features both Dr. Cassie Legari & Dr. Sarah Embrey.  Both are practicing pharmacists and faculty members within the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the UCSOP.  In this video they are sharing their insights on residencies.

As mentioned before, our graduates have had success obtaining competitive residencies and fellowships over the years.   Two recent graduates are Class of 2017’s Dr. Katie Oliver and Dr. Celine Quevillon.  Check out their video updates on what they have been doing since graduation:



Destination.Pharmacy Week – Day 3

Destination Pharmacy Week Logo

At the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy (UCSOP), illustrations of innovation are becoming a consistent part of our identity. Our focus is on fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, encouraging students to develop ideas, compete for funding, and launch viable, successful products and businesses.

The Russell and Martha Wehrle Innovation Center is a supportive platform in which the UC community, including the student pharmacists, faculty and staff at UCSOP, can explore new measures and methods, ignite creativity, and promote inspiration. The Innovation Center acts as a hub and area of inspiration as its two main areas of focus are to support students in their dreams of creating new ideas, and providing the resources needed to build a business.

Today our Student Pharmacists, Faculty and Staff will participate in the University of Charleston’s annual I-3 ((Ideas, Invention, Innovation) Innovation Showcase.  Be sure to follow along on Facebook as we stream live throughout the day.

At the UCSOP, we are also training our students to become great leaders.  Students have many opportunities to take on leadership roles through student organizations and the Pharmacy Student Governance Association.

Today’s featured videos are from current Student Pharmacists Leila Fleming, Class of 2019 and Loic Noubossie, Class of 2018.  Leila will be talking about her experiences with innovation, while Loic talks about his former role as a student leader.

Remember to follow along on Facebook as we stream live throughout I-3 Day.

Make it Quick: The Art of the Elevator Pitch

Contributed by: IPhO

An elevator pitch is a brief verbal communication that is given to potential employers, that is intended to focus on a candidate’s education, skill set, background, and interests. Elevator pitches are extremely important and useful when working in the pharmaceutical industry.  Employers do not have the time to sit and hear a candidate speak about an entire CV/resume, so an elevator pitch allows a candidate to hit the highlights as it pertains to that job opportunity.  At its core, an elevator pitch is a way to present your best self to an employer in a way that avoids the usual “awkward” casual conversations that sometimes arise.

So, what needs to be included in an elevator pitch

  1. Student’s Name
  2. Student’s current program of study and projected year of completion
  3. Short review of student’s education, experience, key strengths, skills, and interest
  4. Explanation of why the student is interested in this particular company or position
  5. A strong closing that ends with the exchange of business cards or the student asking about how to follow-up with the company.

Other things to be considered:

Non-Verbal Cues:

  • Eye contact – this should be maintained but it’s not a staring contest.
  • Handshake – this should be firm and reflect confidence. No “limp fish” or “death grips”.
  • Smile – the student should exhibit a pleasant demeanor and smile so as to appear friendly.

Verbal Cues:

  • Fluent & Conversational – the student’s goal should be to hold a conversation with ease.
  • Disfluencies (um, uh, like, etc.) – the student should try to avoid an excessive amount that might distract the employer from the content of the pitch.

Example of a weak pitch:

Hi, I’m Koffi and I am a student at UCSOP. I’m studying pharmacy and I would like to work in a hospital when I graduate. What does your company do?

Example of a strong pitch:

Hello, my name is Koffi and I’m currently in my first year of the PharmD Program at UCSOP. I am interested in expanding my knowledge of community pharmacy practice through an internship with CVS. I have had the opportunity to job shadow at Wal-Mart and Walgreens and I really enjoyed learning about the operational setup as well as how different pharmacists counsel patients differently. I have also worked a few summers as a receptionist in a physician’s office so I know the importance of meeting the needs of patients and responding to inquiries accurately and promptly. May I have your business card to follow up about possible opportunities with your company

Destination.Pharmacy Week 2018 – Day 2

Destination Pharmacy Week Logo

It is Day 2 of Destination.Pharmacy Week!

Today we taking a closer look at what classes students take throughout our PharmD program.  Our Doctor of Pharmacy program is a 4-year program in which students spend the first three years in the classroom.  Their fourth year is then spent outside of the classroom, completing various rotations.

The overall goal of the curriculum is to develop a competent, highly engaged, generalist practitioner who can successfully practice pharmacy at an entry-level.  Our curriculum emphasizes the management of disease states and the assurance of quality of care. The curriculum is also designed with a comprehensive focus on patient care, medication therapy management, and disease management.

To see our full curriculum, click here.

To give you more insight, we have two special videos to share today.  These videos feature faculty members from the UCSOP’s Department of Pharmaceutical & Administrative Sciences: Dr. Rebecca Linger and Dr. Aymen Shatnawi.

In addition to the regular curriculum, each year students select an elective to take.  One popular elective offered is Dr. Linger’s Ethnopharmacology of Appalachia.  To give you an idea why it is so popular, and what this course is all about, watch the video below:

In the third year, our students take a course in Pharmacogenomics and Medical Genetics. You may be wondering, what exactly is pharmacogenomics?  Check out Dr. Shatnawi’s video below to find out:


For the chance to see a live class, be sure to follow the UCSOP on Facebook. We will be going live from various classes throughout Destination.Pharmacy Week.


Destination.Pharmacy Week 2018 – Day 1

Destination Pharmacy Week Logo

Welcome to Day 1 of the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy’s Destination.Pharmacy Week! We are starting this week by highlighting a few of the many career paths one can take as a pharmacist.

Today’s videos feature two faculty members, Dr. Michelle Knight and Dr. Michaela Leffler.  Dr. Knight will be talking about careers in pharmacy and the expanding role of a pharmacist.  Dr. Michaela Leffler, who is also a graduate of the UCSOP, will be talking about clinical pharmacy.


Have you thought about what path in pharmacy you would like to pursue?

To explore even more pharmacy career opportunities and learn why pharmacy may be the perfect career for you, visit:

At the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy, we are preparing our students for all paths.  Our graduates find success right after graduation whether in a community pharmacy, a clinical setting, or even by earning competitive residencies and fellowships.

For more information about how the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy can help you on your journey to becoming a great pharmacist, please contact us at 304-357-4889, or visit our website:

Smoking: Lung Cancer and COPD

In the United States about 15 out of every 100 people who are of legal smoking age partake in the recreational use of cigarettes or other tobacco products. Many of these people are unaware of the immediate risk this imposes on their health and lives. Another important factor to consider is that by smoking it also imposes on other’s lives. When considering smoking there are two primary diseases that are correlated with the topic; those are lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Both disease states are prevalent across the United States and have been on the rise with due to the high number of people smoking.

The number one cause of COPD in the US is cigarette smoke or smoke from another source such as cigars. COPD is caused by long time exposure of irritants to the lungs. Once again this not only affects the individual smoking but secondhand smoke will also increase the chances of a person to develop this disease state. Treatment for COPD relies on medications to relieve symptoms because at this time no therapeutic option will cure this disease state. It is a lifelong illness with severe symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, a cough with mucous, and a pursed lip breathing mannerism which is a tale-tale indication of a person with this disease. Stopping smoking will decrease the progression and complications associated with this pulmonary illness.

Lung cancer is the next big hit list item which is caused by smoking. Cancer is when cells of the body grow abnormally and the body is unable to control the progression of cell mutations. Smoking will cause your cells in your lungs to mutate and alter their physiochemical properties. The five-year survival rate is 55% in cases where the disease is found and it is still localized within the lungs. Lung cancer has the potential to spread across many organs and all over the body which decreases survival rates dramatically. Once a person has stopped smoking for ten years then the risk of getting lung cancer is half that of someone who still smokes.

November is national lung cancer awareness month so what better month to think about quitting smoking than now. It is just in time for the holidays and you will have plenty of support to help you along the way. Making the first step is considering the option to quit. There are multiple healthcare professionals who are also knowledgeable and willing to help someone along their way in making this life-changing decision. The easiest option would more than likely be the local pharmacist who knows about different options to help an individual on your journey. Pharmacist can be there to educate about the benefits of quitting and to educate on the varieties of nicotine replacement options to make it easier for someone to quit. Many insurance companies will also provide support and allow individuals to have therapy products covered by them. Bring the awareness is the first step, taking action is next.


Kiss Away Cancer

Contributed by: Lambda Kappa Sigma

Lambda Kappa Sigma (LKS) is a professional organization for women in pharmacy. Founded in 1913, the organization is established in 49 campuses with 38 alumni chapters. Lambda Kappa Sigma provides lifelong opportunities for women in pharmacy. As an organization we offer prospects for professional achievements and personal growth. LKS is not only an organization you are a part of during your time in school, but we sustain these relationships throughout life. We strive to lead with integrity, inspire excellence and impact our community.

The organization is new here at the University of Charleston School Of Pharmacy. As founding members we are trying to establish ourselves and gain awareness as an organization.  In addition, we are promoting our mission of leading with integrity, inspiring excellence, and impacting community.  We are forming relationships with each other that we plan on continuing well beyond graduation. This year, our focus has been impacting community by raising awareness. In October we held events focusing on the awareness of breast cancer, domestic violence, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Our “Kiss Away Cancer” event was held to raise funds for the Susan G. Komen campaign. Through this weeklong event we were able to donate $100 to the foundation.  Additionally, we held a Tweet – A – Thon to raise awareness about breast cancer, with 13 tweets reaching over 200 followers.

Our “Put a Nail in Domestic Violence” event was an easy way for students to support domestic violence awareness. LKS members painted one fingernail purple for students. We painted approximately 40 nails and distributed 10 purple ribbons for students to wear throughout the day. With this event, we provided pamphlets with information regarding the prevalence of domestic violence.

Finally, we participated in the 2017 Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Charleston WV. Our LKS volunteers helped with registration. Checking in hundreds of people that were there to advocate for the cause and work towards a cure.

In addition to the events that we held for our community, we gathered items to donate to the victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. We were able to reach out to a shelters both in Houston and Puerto Rico to provided them with essential items such as diapers, toothbrushes, tissues, and other necessities.