Jennifer Thackray balances academics and community involvement to achieve a well-rounded pharmacy career.
Jennifer Thackray is not one tokeep her nose stuck in a book.Sure, working toward a PharmDdegree takes endless hours of studying,but Thackray realizes that a true educationis more well-rounded.
"I really believe that developing professionallyand personally is just asimportant as developing academically,"said Thackray, who will graduate fromthe University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy (OUCOP)in June. "Because I believe this, it was not impossible forme to make time for organizational involvement in themidst of studying. Of course, I probably got less sleep, butit was worth every minute!" It was her full-throttle approachto schoolwork, pharmacy, and helping others that madeThackray the leader of the pack for the Walmart/PharmacyTimes RESPy Award.
During her undergraduate years studying science andbiochemistry at Oklahoma State University, from where shegraduated at the top of her class, Thackray was introducedto pharmacy. She shadowed pharmacists to get a feel for thework, and soon realized it was a perfect fit.
Thackray not only pursued a career in pharmacy throughcoursework, but also immersed herself in various organizationsand volunteer activities from day one at the school.With such initiative and drive, it is no wonder that Thackray'speers elected her student council president last year. "Everyfield of pharmacy is in the midst of a change and will requirepassionate leaders to stand up and lead the way, saidThackray."
It is clear that Thackray fits that bill. As student councilpresident, she led the group to be recognized as the OU HealthSciences Center Outstanding Student Organization for 2008. Ahighlight of her tenure as president was spearheading a silentauction to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Thackray'sefforts helped raise nearly $20,000 for children with terminalillnesses.
The ambitious achiever also lent her skills to severalhealth fairs during her time at OUCOP. As a Neighbor-for-Neighbor volunteer, Thackray dispensed donated medicationsto the working poor. She also volunteered for Vial ofLife and Habitat for Humanity. In addition, Thackray hasdonated time to fundraising for worthy causes like UnitedWay; Susan G. Komen for the Cure; Juvenile Diabetes Walk;the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; the Tulsa Food Bank;the Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center; and the annualholiday Angel Tree.
Pharmacy was the first professional program offered at TheUniversity of Oklahoma (OU), and the College of Pharmacy (COP)was born in 1896. Since then, it has had more than 4200 graduates.The college offers the Doctor of Pharmacy professional degree programand graduate programs in the pharmaceutical sciences leadingto the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.
Thackray led a station at Drug Warehouse to teach 7thgraders about pharmacy, helping to instill her love of theprofession into the youngsters. She is serving her third yearas an OUCOP ambassador, playing an active role in the WhiteCoat Ceremony, as well as speaking at student orientations,recruitment events, and student panel meetings.
In order to jump-start her undoubtedly bright future in thefield, Thackray has devoted time to internships and otherwork alongside other pharmacists and clinicians.
Despite a multitude of commitments, Thackray is a MosierScholar, OUCOP's top award given to students who demonstrateleadership, scholarship, and service to the college, profession,and community. "Jen has not only met but exceededexpectations in each of these categories," said Jane Wilson,assistant dean for student affairs at OUCOP.
In terms of the future, a postgraduate year-1 residency atthe University of North Carolina University is in the works.From there, the sky is the limit. "I truly believe an importantpart of [the OUCOP PharmD] program is to evolve from astudent into a true professional," said Thackray.
From the looks of it, she is well on her way