Volunteerism Is the Heart of RESPy Winner
Volunteering is central to Kacee Vogt's busy life. She hashelped clean up an elderly man's home and yard after a hurricanein Port Arthur, Tex; assisted in the construction of a churchbuilding in Juarez, Mexico, by mixing concrete and laying bricks;sifted through debris for salvageable items after a tornado inCordell, Okla; worked at Frog Road Camp, a church camp nearTulsa, Okla, with children aged 8 to 18, where she was a smallgroup leader; volunteered at the Christian Villa retirement centerin Stillwater, Okla, where she visited and sang with membersof the center; and presented poison prevention information tostudents in elementary schools in Oklahoma City. This is only asampling of her many volunteer activities.
"Community service has always been a priority for Kacee. Hercurriculum vitae is steeped with activities [aimed] at serving theneedy and providing information that benefits the general publichealth," said Jane E. Wilson, PhD, assistant dean for studentaffairs at the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy, in herletter of nomination recommending Kacee for the PharmacyTimes/Wal-Mart RESPy award.
Asked which of her volunteer activities she enjoyed the most,Kacee said, "spending a week with my friends from a campusministry serving the homeless in Houston. We took them foodand clothing and worked with inner-city children during VacationBible School. We played games with them and kept them busywhile school was closed. It is a different culture," she said. Kaceehas made this trip on every spring break for 5 years.
At the same time, she has maintained a 4.0 grade point averageat the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy, forwhich she received the college'smost prestigious award,the Mosier Scholar Award, saidDr. Wilson. In addition, she wasrecently elected by her classmatesto lead the school'sStudent Executive Council,where "she has worked quicklyto put her mark on the position,"added Dr. Wilson.
Kacee, now 24, says thatbeing president of theExecutive Council, whichoversees the student organizationin the college, "hasopened up many possibilitiesto me. It enablesme to usemy leadershipskills. I am a liaisonbetweenstudents and thefaculty. I can be avoice for the students."The councilmeets every otherweek and deals with problems that comeup; Kacee will continue in this position until the end of the springsemester. "She is a delight to work with," said Dr. Wilson in an interview."She is a good leader who is involved in our service projects.She is always there and is always available to her colleagues."
When asked about her future plans, Kacee said, "I think aboutit all the time, but I haven't figured it out yet. Every time I hear aspeaker [discuss his or her work], I think it sounds great. I amkeeping my options open. Pharmacy offers diversity and flexibility."A third-year student, she is strongly considering doing a residencyin the clinical aspects of pharmacy or working in an independentcommunity pharmacy because pharmacists there have"a better opportunity to have a relationship with patients."
Ms. Rosendahl is a freelance writer based in Fort Lee, NJ.
About the College
University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy
Pharmacy is the oldest professional program at the University ofOklahoma, and the first 2 graduates received the pharmaceuticalchemist diploma in 1896, according to the college's Web site. TheCollege of Pharmacy moved to the Health Sciences Center inOklahoma City in 1976 from the Norman campus. The centerincludes major hospitals, clinics, and research facilities, as well as theCollege of Allied Health, Dentistry, Public Health, Nursing, andMedicine and the Graduate College. The College of Pharmacyincludes the Henry D. and Ida Mosier Pharmacy Building, a 75,000-square-foot facility, which is well-equipped for contemporary pharmacyeducation, graduate education, and research in the pharmaceuticalsciences and continuing professional education.
In fall 2002, the college extended the professional program to theSchusterman Health Center in Tulsa. Students in both OklahomaCity and Tulsa complete the same curriculum using a number ofeducational technologies and distance education methods.
The college offers the doctor of pharmacy professional degreeprogram as the sole entry-level degree. A combined PharmD/MSprogram is offered to students seeking a graduate degree in conjunctionwith the professional doctoral degree. The Department ofGraduate Pharmaceutical Sciences also offers programs leading toboth the master of science and the doctor of philosophy degrees.These programs are designed to prepare scientists, educators, andpractitioners for careers in pharmaceutical education, research,industry, and related areas of specialized practice.