UCSOP Students Declare Their Favorite Activities in the Charleston Area (Part 2)

We are continuing to highlight favorite activities of the UC pharmacy students.  Owing to Charleston’s location where I-64, I-77, and I-79 meet, students and faculty alike will venture out for a little fun.  So when we ask them where their favorite weekend getaway was, they all headed out in different directions.  Swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, skiing, shopping, fine dining, antiquing, and many other activities are available in these locations:

Weekend Getaways (too many link to post them all!)

Summersville Lake

The Greenbrier

Lewisburg, WV

Columbus, OH

Hawk’s Nest State Park and New River Gorge

Sandstone Falls


Snow Shoe


Sports are always a big part of the West Virginia lifestyle, and UCSOP students enjoy attended UC sporting events, basketball, tennis, and football, especially the rivalry games against nearby WV State University.  They also will travel to Morgantown to see WVU play, and enjoy the WV Power Baseball games (http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t525) in Charleston.

Live Music

Whether it is a relaxing weekend evening listening to a performer in Taylor Books, or a major concert at the Charleston Civic Center, or somewhere in between, Charleston has plenty to offer.  The last post talked about Live on the Levee, which is a student and faculty favorite, and offers free concerts by the river every Friday night during the summer.  Another favorite venue is the Clay Center, which hosts, the WV symphony, and a variety of shows throughout the year, including the Nutcracker performed by the Charleston Ballet in December.  Additionally students enjoy music at small, downtown establishments, such as The Boulevard Tavern and The Empty Glass.  You may even find an open mic night if you want to try out your talents.





P2 student Eric Tong at the New River Gorge Bridge.

P2 student Eric Tong at the New River Gorge Bridge.

Eric Tong at Hawk's Nest

Eric Tong at Hawk’s Nest

Hannah Hutchinson and her daughter hiking near Beckley, WV

Hannah Hutchinson and her daughter hiking near Beckley, WV

P3 student Katie Lilly and her family like to hang out at Summersville Lake.  If you look carefully, you can see people at the top getting ready to make the big leap into the lake!

P3 student Katie Lilly and her family like to hang out at Summersville Lake. If you look carefully, you can see people at the top getting ready to make the big leap into the lake!

UCSOP Students Declare Their Favorite Activities in the Charleston Area (Part 1)

In the same unscientific survey where some UCSOP students reported their favorite Charleston area food options, they also listed some of their favorite activities.  So if you are thinking that Charleston is too small to offer any fun, think again, and check out this list of favorites.  Unlike the food, most of the time there were so many different answers, there was not a clear winners in the categories, so here is an overview of some of the favorites. And if you have a favorite that we have missed, leave us a comment.

Again, before checking out this list, there is something that you have to understand about Charleston, WV.  When talking about the city of Charleston, people often include surrounding areas in that conversation.  So when asked for favorites, students automatically included activities from surrounding areas.  So check out all the fun, and maybe rethink your impression of Charleston, WV!  As with the food post, we are also including some faculty and staff favorites here as well (yes, faculty and staff like to have a fun too!).  Part 2 of this post will cover favorite local events, weekend getaways, sports, and live music.

Favorite Outdoor Activity

This list included a variety

of year-round activities, including skiing, hiking, playing tennis, riding motorcycles and ATVs, zip-lining, playing Ultimate Frisbee, and participating in a variety of activities on Magic Island.  Live on the Levee is a series of free concerts in the summer on the river bank in downtown Charleston, and is also a faculty favorite.  All summer long there are a variety of musical acts every Friday night, with plenty of places to pull up a chair, food trucks for dinner or snacks, and just a short walk to some other Charleston favorites, such as Taylor Books and Ellen’s Ice Cream on Capital Street.  Many of these activities take place in the large variety of parks and wooded areas around Charleston, such as Kanawha State Forest, which is great for picnics, Frisbee, walking, studying, and has hiking and biking trails, as well as a pool.  And the students did not even mention white water rafting – a WV staple for summer and fall fun.  Try rafting the New River if you are a novice or the Gauley River if you are more experienced.   Playing golf is a faculty and staff favorite.  For those of you that have kids, I have included a like to a USA Today article about fun with kids in Charleston, but it highlights some of our student favorites also.  I guess when it comes to fun we are all just big kids!






3rd Floor Administrative Assistant Marea Dodd learning to golf.

3rd Floor Administrative Assistant Marea Dodd learning to golf.

A great shot of the crowd and the boats at Live on the Levee.

A great shot of the crowd and the boats at Live on the Levee.

Faculty member Ron Ramirez and his wife having fun at Live on the Levee.

Faculty member Ron Ramirez and his wife having fun at Live on the Levee.

Staff member Erika Riggs and her family are preparing to go zip-lining.

Staff member Erika Riggs and her family are preparing to go zip-lining.

Favorite Place to Shop

Student tending to gravitate toward shopping at area malls, including the Charleston Town Center Mall, the Huntington Mall (it is really in Barboursville), Beckley’s Crossroads Mall, as well as downtown and Corridor G shops.  Corridor G is a road that head south from Charleston into the coal fields of WV, but at the Charleston end has many shops and restaurants, including Target, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Lowes and Home Depot, Cabela’s, Gander Mountain, Marquee Cinemas, Red Lobster, Long Horn, Olive Garden, O’Charley’s, and many others, all in different shopping plazas.  So you may hear people direct you to Corridor G, Southridge, Ashton Place, Dudley Farms, but it is all the same general area.  There are also hotels in that area if you are coming for a visit.  The Charleston Town Center is an excellent mall that has a variety of shops, including Macy’s, JCPenney, Sephora, Coach, White House Black Market, local cell phone providers, a bank, several restaurants and a food court, just to name a few.




Favorite Weekend Hangout

Once again the favorite hangouts included a variety of locations, including movies, coffee shops, the pool, and the mall.  Local independent bookstore Taylor Books is a student and faculty favorite.  They have coffee, beer and wine, desserts, quiche in Sundays, live music on Friday and Saturday nights, and an exhibit of local art.  Oh yeah, and some comfy seating for reading.  Below are links to Taylor Books’ Facebook page, Waves of Fun pool and water park, which at least one student specifically noted as a favorite weekend hangout (located in Hurricane, WV), and Moxxee Coffee.




Dr. Anne Teichman and her family enjoy spending time at the Kanawha City Pool, which is not far from the UC campus.

Dr. Anne Teichman and her family enjoy spending time at the Kanawha City Pool, which is not far from the UC campus.


UCSOP Students Declare Their Favorite Food in the Charleston Area

In a very unscientific survey this past semester, some UCSOP students sent in their favorite places to grab lunch, a burger and more.  So whether you are planning a visit to Charleston, moving to campus to start the fall semester, or even if you are one of our current students looking for a new place to try, check out this list of favorites.  And if you have a favorite that we have missed, add it in to the comment section below.

Before checking out this list, there is something that you have to understand about Charleston, WV.  When talking about the city of Charleston, people often include surrounding areas in that conversation because there are many smaller communities near the city that are definitely worth a visit.  So when asked for favorites, students automatically included restaurants from surrounding towns, including South Charleston, Teays Valley, Cross Lanes, and Sissonville.  So buckle up and start your food tour of the Charleston area!

Best Pizza

When it comes to pizza, Pies & Pints Pizzeria is an overwhelming favorite among students (faculty too!).  This local specialty pizza place started with a shop in Fayetteville, WV, where you can still visit the original, then opened in Charleston, and has now become a regional chain with locations in Morgantown, Columbus, Dayton, and opening more locations in the near future.  Check out their website and Facebook page for more information



Other local favorites for pizza are Lola’s, Graziano’s, and Husson’s.

Best Burgers

Students do not mind hopping in the car and taking a ride to Teays Valley (about 20-25 minutes west) to chow down on the fat patties at Fat Patty’s.  This local chain has four locations, and serves burgers, sandwiches, salads, and more.  You can order their beer-battered fries by the bucket!  So whether you are in the mood for the Lasso patty covered in BBQ sauce or the Luau Cow topped with ham and pineapple, or just a classic burger, Fat Patty’s has something for you.



Other popular places for burgers are Five Guys, Cold Spot, B&D Gastropub, FireSide Grill (Teays Valley), Bluegrass Kitchen, and Vandalia Grill.  And Carney’s is a new restaurant in Cross Lanes that is a faculty recommendation for great burgers!

Favorite Lunch Spot

For lunch students are all over the place in their favorites – Vietnamese, Chinese, crepes, or they may just grab a sandwich.  Two favorites are located about 10-15 minutes from campus in South Charleston – Pho Vinh Long and Yen’s Sandwich shop.

Sorry, no website for these locally owned restaurants, but check out the articles below about the great soups (BTW, even the small bowl is big!) at Pho Vinh Long, and the unique (and inexpensive) sandwiches at Yen’s.



Other favorites lunch spots include Tricky Fish, Café Creperi, Taste of Asia (also in South Charleston), Pita Pit, The Wheelhouse, M&M Mart and Deli, Bellicino’s, and First Watch.  Las Trancas Mexican Restaurant is a faculty favorite.

Favorite Restaurant

This one got a lot of responses, with no clear winner.  Some of them also showed up in the lists above, and some are chains and some are local.

Popular choices were Soho’s (at the Capital Market), Adelphia Sports Bar, Pies and Pints Pizzeria, Bluegrass Kitchen, Fazio’s, Main Kwong, Su Tei, Cracker Barrel, Lone Star, Chop House, Tidewater, Top Spot Country Cookin’ (in Sissonville), Black Sheep Buritto & Brews, and the buffet at the Mardi Gras Casino and Resort in Cross Lanes.  A faculty favorite is the South Hills Market and Café.  Check out the links below to see what’s on the menu.








UCSOP Students Balance Pharmacy School and Parenting


Class of 2016 student Scott Stratton tells about being a new pharmacy student and a new parent in the same year, and gives some advice if you are considering applying to pharmacy school and have kids of your own

My name is Scott Stratton and I am a second year student at University of Charleston School of Pharmacy. My life recently changed forever as my beautiful wife, Cassandra, gave birth to our first child, Luke Asher during the spring semester of my P1 year. My purpose is to give some insight from a father’s perspective on juggling pharmacy school and family life. I have no intention on persuading you to apply for pharmacy school but to inform you about my own personal experience and how I try to balance things out so that I am successful as a student and most importantly as a family man.

If you are interested in pursuing a career as a pharmacist then I should tell you that it’s no easy task. Of course, every person is different and there are varying degrees of ability within each student. I am the type of student who works hard to make good grades, and sometimes I do put a lot of stress on myself because I always want to strive to do my absolute best and learn as much as I possibly can. However, I also spend quality time with my family so it is truly a juggling act.

I think that if you’re interested in school but want to start a family as well (or already have one!), it is extremely important that you and your family talk thoroughly about the sacrifices that each of you must make to ensure that you’re successful in pursuing this endeavor. Time is the most precious commodity so make the best of it. In my own personal situation, I am commuting 4 hours each day for school simply because it is more beneficial to my wife and my son rather than have them relocate. While it is hard and I don’t have a lot of time to study during the week my wife and I have utilized a plan on the weekends so that I can make up the lost time for studying. Sleep is also something that you may find yourself lacking so I would encourage you if you’re not a fan of coffee to learn to love it as it has been my best friend this semester. Even though our life is so busy, we would definitely do things the same way we have done them. Luke Asher has given me a deeper sense of purpose, as my wife would agree. Please take my advice and know that you are willing to make the sacrifice to get through school then it is worth it to pursue your dream. You can have the best of both worlds if you work hard to keep a balance between school and your family.

All in all, your success in school really depends on the sacrifices that you’re willing to make. While it may seem like your neglecting your family just remember that if you do decide to go to school that what you’re doing is admirable. You are putting your family first by putting a huge emphasis on your education. Just remember that pharmacy school is only four years and a great career choice. By graduating, you will be passing down a legacy to your child so they will have what they need and want, and they may even go to pharmacy school themselves. Stay positive and focused and I think you will be happy with the result.

Scott and Luke

Scott and Luke

Scott and his family

Scott and his family

Class of 2015 student Hannah Hutchinson talks about her experience balancing life as a pharmacy student, wife, and mother of two older children (Oh, yeah, and she is our PSGA president this year too!)

As a parent of two middle school children, I worried about how to balance my family life with pharmacy school when I first began almost three years ago. However, since then I have come to realize that it is similar to working a full time job and coming home each night to fix dinner, attend extracurricular activities, help with homework, and have a little time to work on my own studies. I make every effort to suspend studying over the weekend to allow plenty of time to do what we love, like camping, card games, visiting with friends, and finding new hiking trails in the beautiful WV State Parks. There are times when our schedules are overloaded during sports seasons and holidays, but we’ve learned to let go of whatever we can and flow through until there is time to catch up again. A unique experience of going through graduate school at this life stage is that both of my children have started asking about career goals for themselves, which opens up the perfect teaching moment about lifelong learning and the importance of education.

Hannah and her family

Hannah and her family

So if you are a parent and are on the fence about applying to pharmacy school, know that Scott and Hannah, and many other students here at UCSOP, are striking the proper balance of being a successful parent and a successful pharmacy student.  So have that important discussion with your loved ones, have confidence you can be successful, and get ready to submit your application next fall! 

Feel free to leave questions for Scott or Hannah in the comment section below!



Student Pharmacists Enjoy a Unique Spring Break

This week has started out with another snowy Monday, and students are beginning to look forward to warmer weather and spring break trips.  But a group of UCSOP student pharmacists have chosen a different path for their spring break.  During spring break 2013, 4 students joined a mission trip to Haiti through a local church and our CPFI chapter, and this year UCSOP students have the opportunity to participate in the mission trip again.  Class of 2016 student Jenny Byerly writes about her experience last year in Haiti during spring break.

Jenny: Last spring break I had the opportunity to attend a medical missions trip with Help Haiti Know Jesus Ministries through Gateway Christian Church.  This was an amazing opportunity offered to the University of Charleston.  Through this medical mission trip, myself and 3 other UCSOP students were able to extend our knowledge outside of the classroom.

UCSOP students Jenny, Temeka, Alex, and Aaron

UCSOP students Jenny, Temeka, Alex, and Aaron

The trip to Haiti took 3 plane rides and a 12-hour ride on the back of a truck.  Let me tell you, the trip was no easy task.  The roads in Haiti are nothing like the roads here in the U.S.

Road in Haiti

Road in Haiti

UCSOP Students Ride in the Back of a Truck from Airport to Haitian Town

UCSOP students ride in the back of a truck from airport to Haitian town

This being said, none of us imagined what we would actually see and experience during this trip but the outcome of it was unbelievable.  Throughout the week we were able to set up 5 different clinics and reach over 900 Haitians, providing care to what we may consider easy fixes, such as the common cold and flu.  During the week my classmates and I were able to master taking blood pressures, heart rates, and temperatures.

Alex Tate taking a patient's blood pressure

Alex Tate taking a patient’s blood pressure

UCSOP student pharmacists work at the pharmacy table during their mission trip

UCSOP student pharmacists work at the pharmacy table during their mission trip

Also, each one of us got to experience the process of diagnosing patients based on their chief complaints.  Some of the disorders/diseases we diagnosed were worms, yeast infections, high blood pressure, scabies, ring worm, elephantiasis, and breast cancer.  We treated each case as best we could and explained to each patient, with the help of our translators of course, how to use their medications properly.

Through this trip I was able to experience the beauty of both Haiti and its people and provide a wonderful service while applying the material I learn in class every day at UCSOP.   This trip will most definitely be offered to UCSOP students again and I highly recommend it.  It is truly a life changing experience and will benefit your life both emotionally and spiritually through the devotions of Pastor Paul.  It will provide ways to begin thinking out of the box helping to enhance your pharmacy skills.

Jenny with one of the kids from the Haitian church the group attended

Jenny with one of the kids from the Haitian church the group attended

The entire group on the mission trip

The entire group on the mission trip

The group at the beach in Haiti

The group at the beach in Haiti

This year Class of 2017 student Vanessa Chavarria is going on the mission trip for the first time.  When asked why she is choosing to participate in this type of spring break trip, she said, “The reason why I chose to participate in this mission trip is because I have always wanted to help less fortunate people and also spread the love of Christ while doing so. What I am looking forward to the most is being able to actually help these people feel better, just knowing that I might have saved a person’s life is more rewarding than any recognition. And the only thing that I am worried about is the adjustment when I come back. I am a very affectionate person and coming back to everything we have here will be a reality check, but as a future pharmacist this is something that I will have to be able to learn how to cope with.”

Vanessa Chavarria, Class of 2017

Vanessa Chavarria, Class of 2017

Good luck to those leaving for Haiti in March (only 4 weeks to go)!  Wishing you safe travels, warm weather, and the ability to help many people!

2014 Pharmacists’ Day at the WV Legislature

Pharmacists’ Day at the WV Legislature got off to a slick, snowy start.  But students were out in full force to advocate for the profession of pharmacy and thank legislators for their service to the people of West Virginia.

A snowy day at the WV Capitol complex.

A snowy day at the WV Capitol complex.

UC student pharmacists gather in the WV Capitol Rotunda to prepare for the activities of the day.

UC student pharmacists gather in the WV Capitol Rotunda to prepare for the activities of the day.

Student pharmacists from UC, WVU, and MU pose in the Rotunda.

Student pharmacists from UC, WVU, and MU pose in the Rotunda.

Dr. Kristy Lucas, along with Dr. Susan Gardner, has been instrumental in helping students plan for the Pharmacists’ Day activities.  According to Dr. Lucas, “Advocacy is a big part of the experience in training students as members of the profession of pharmacy at UC.  We are so blessed to be located directly across the Kanawha River from the beautiful West Virginia state capitol building. Our student pharmacists have the opportunity to participate in the annual “Pharmacists Day in the Legislature” with the goal of keeping legislators informed of the importance that pharmacists play in the healthcare system.  Sometimes we go to the capitol with specific issues that we would like legislators to address, while other times we go to simply keep up our relationship with legislators and serve as an educational resource for them on topics related tohealthcare and pharmacy, in particular.  Our school works together with colleagues from the two other schools of pharmacy in the state to speak in a unified voice for the profession.  As student pharmacists participate in this event, they are able to learn about advocacy while also helping to shape the future of their profession.”

Dr. Kristy Lucas, UC faculty member, talks with Dr. Krista Capehart, WVU faculty member.

Dr. Kristy Lucas, UC faculty member, talks with Dr. Krista Capehart, WVU faculty member.

An important part of the day is meeting with delegates to the legislature.  Students gathered with their group and then met with legislators.IMG_6407IMG_6405IMG_6413

Students also staff tables throughout the day to provide information and perform blood pressures and test blood glucose levels.

IMG_6436 IMG_6433 IMG_6439

Albert Won, class of 2016, also helped to plan and coordinate everything that goes into a successful Pharmacists’ Day at the Legislature.  When asked why he was willing to put in all the work to plan the day, Albert stated, “For me, Pharmacy Day at the Legislature was a productive experience. As my second year attending Pharmacy Day, we were able to thank our legislators for all their support for patient care. I am very proud that our school was the largest participating student group at Pharmacy Day. This event gives student pharmacists a hands-on experience to work with legislators. As this year’s Advocacy Chairperson, the legislators were impressed by students’ enthusiasm. Best part of the day was mingling with student pharmacists from WVU and Marshall. I was grateful that despite the snow, we were able to meet with the legislators as planned.”

Albert Won

Albert Won, Class of 2016


UCSOP Students Prepare for Pharmacists’ Day at the WV Legislature 2014

The University of Charleston sits directly across the river from the WV State Capitol, but next week UCSOP student pharmacists will cross the river and invade the capitol for the annual Pharmacists’ Day at the Legislature 2014.  Every year students gather at the capitol building to advocate for issues that are important to the profession of pharmacy and patient care.

This week students at UCSOP and the other pharmacy schools in the state (Marshall University and West Virginia University) have been preparing for their trip to the capitol on Monday, January 27.  UCSOP students received a briefing on Tuesday at convocation to get them oriented regarding what will happen during the day.  Shuttles will run between the School of Pharmacy and the capitol all day so parking is not an issue for students and faculty.  Students groups have been set up that contain students from each school, 66 groups in all, with UC students making up the largest group of students (easier to participate when you are already in the capital city!).  UCSOP student pharmacists and faculty will also staff five tables, where they will be performing blood pressure screenings, giving out educational materials, and providing information about the pharmacy school and our residency program.

Technology has been a large part of the preparation for Pharmacists’ Day.  Students signed up electronically to show their interest in participating, their groups were assigned through online documents, and on Friday, January 24, students from all three schools conferenced through distance meeting technology for more prep information.

UCSOP students line up for the pizza portion of the "Pizza and Policy" discussion

UCSOP students line up for the pizza portion of the “Pizza and Policy” discussion.

More pizza!

More pizza!

Friday’s “Pizza and Policy” lunchtime event featured speakers from all three WV pharmacy schools, and students in Charleston, Huntington, and Morgantown were all given information about what to expect on Monday, including:

  • Why it is important for students to advocate for the profession of pharmacy
  • How the state legislature works
  • How to talk to legislators
  • The goals of the students while visiting with legislators
  • Questions that student pharmacists might expect
  • Which bills are related to health care, medications, pharmacy, business, and patient care
UCSOP students have a little fun as they gather to hear speakers from UC, WVU, and MU

UCSOP students have a little fun as they gather to hear speakers from UC, WVU, and MU.

This year students and pharmacists are visiting legislators and thanking them for their support of last year’s successful Pharmacy Practice Act.  So our students are prepared for Monday, and they will put on their white coats and their walking shoes and hit the WV State Capitol building with other pharmacy professionals from around the state, with UCSOP students leading the way!

Students in Charleston are introduced to the first speaker, who was located in Huntington, WV.

Students in Charleston are introduced to the first speaker, who was located in Huntington, WV.

Pharmacy students listen intently to find out about their role in Pharmacists' Day at the WV Legislature.

Pharmacy students listen intently to find out about their role in Pharmacists’ Day at the WV Legislature.

Advocacy is an important part of the pharmacy education here at UCSOP, and students are excited to jump in and participate.  Watch for next week’s post with pictures and quotes from Pharmacists’ Day at the WV Legislature!

UCSOP Pharmacy Student Organizations

Want to get involved in activities that impact the community and the pharmacy profession? UCSOP student organizations host health fairs, donate to local charities, coordinate on-campus health and wellness activities, and even sponsor a spring formal, just to name a few of their many activities (don’t forget about the PSGA-sponsored snacks during finals week!).

UCSOP pharmacy students have many student organizations to choose from, and we help them out with the dues too.  Each student can choose a student organization to join, and UCSOP will pay the dues to the group.  We even try to help students with expenses if they want to attend a local, regional, or national meeting.  Students may join more than one organization if they pay their own dues or if the group has no dues.  So follow the links below and start planning which organization you want to join!

Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP)


American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP)


American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)


National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA)


Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA)


American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS)


Phi Lambda Sigma (PLS)


Rho Chi (RC)


Phi Delta Chi (Phi Dex)


And we have already written about these two organizations:

Pharmacy Student Governance Association (PSGA)


Christian Pharmacist Fellowship International (CPFI)



Students can run for offices in these student organizations, lead committees, and participate in organization-sponsored activities.  Each class also serves as a group and has officers: President, Vice-president, Secretary, Treasurer, Historian, and Parliamentarian.

If you have more questions about student organizations at UCSOP, please contact Jamie Bero in the Office of Student and Professional Affairs: jamiebero@ucwv.edu.

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.

Website: http://www.capitolmarket.net/.

Soho’s Italian Restaurant in the Capital Market: http://sohoswv.com/

Holl’s Swiss Chocolatier: http://www.holls.com/

The Wine and Cheese Shop: https://www.facebook.com/thewineshop

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: http://kanrace.com/

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: http://www.aacp.org/RESOURCES/STUDENT/PHARMACYFORYOU/PHARMACYCAREERINFO/Pages/default.aspx.)
  • 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