Auburn University September Student-Pharmacist of the Month: Elise Aucoin
Sept. 4, 2014, AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. - Each month, the Harrison School of Pharmacy will highlight one of its students. For September, we will get to know Elise Aucoin, the current president of the HSOP Student Council.
Tell use a little bit about yourself…
“I am a third-year student here at the Harrison School of Pharmacy. I am from Pierre Part, Louisiana, which is about an hour south of Baton Rouge. I graduated from Louisiana State University in 2012 with a bachelor of science degree in biological sciences. Currently, I am student council president and an HSOP Ambassador. Prior to this year, I served as chair of the board of ethical and professional conduct for HSOP.”
You were in a French Immersion program growing up in Louisiana, what was that like?
“Coming from South Louisiana, Cajun French is commonly used in the area. Growing up, my grandparents only spoke French. My dad actually didn’t learn English until he started the first grade. As for my program, my public school offered a French Immersion section. The same 20 students were together from kindergarten to eighth grade with teachers from Europe and Canada. All subjects, math, science, social studies and even electives were taught in French.
“Being able to speak another language is in itself beneficial, and to be exposed to other cultures from a very young age helped me develop a cultural awareness. In a sense, having my classes in another language forced an enhanced thought process, and later in life I realized it’s because of this I was better at solving complex problems by simultaneously running the same thought processes in my head. Also, I was able to test out of college credits before starting college, giving me the opportunity to take other courses that interested me, like conservation biology and ecology.”
Why did you choose pharmacy?
“What really interested me in pharmacy was the interaction you get to have with the patients. You get to have more of a relationship with them because pharmacists are the most accessible health care provider to most people. Plus, there are so many things you can do within the profession of pharmacy. I worked as a Pharmacy Technician after graduating high school since I was interested in working in the health care field. I was so impressed by the knowledge that my pharmacists had, he loved being a pharmacist and his passion for the profession spread to me.”
What brought you to HSOP?
“As an LSU alum, I get asked this question routinely. But, it is basically because at Auburn, I get to be a double Tiger. Really, though, it is the relationship the students have with the instructors where you get to be part of the team, rather than just a student. They value my opinion. The Pharmacy Practice Experience program was appealing to me because from my first day at HSOP I was able to go out into the community and help people. I get to take what I learn in the classroom and start using it in the community immediately.
“Also, when I started looking into schools, I looked for schools with high NPLEX passing rates, leadership opportunities and residency rates, and HSOP excels in all of those areas. Although I’m not on the Mobile campus, I was also attracted to the idea of being closer to home and my family. I’ve actually attended several classes on the Mobile campus when I needed to make a trip home for various reasons.”
You have less than two years to go now, what does the future look like for Elise Aucoin?
“I hope to get a residency, but there are so many things that I’m interested in to pinpoint an area right now. I am definitely interested in teaching and I have enjoyed drug informatics, researching and solving problems.
“I also have an interest in addiction treatment and I would like to do some more work in that area. It seems like we all know someone, family members or friends, who are fighting a battle with addiction. Why aren’t we doing more about it? This past summer, I attended the University of Utah School on Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependencies and it was a life-changing experience. The topics covered at the Utah School are so valuable to future health care professionals. The central purpose of the pharmacy section was to help current and future pharmacy professionals understand addiction and focus on ways to help patients and other health care professionals deal with drug dependencies. Pharmacists are in a prime position to help patients by recognizing those who may be abusing prescription medications and recommending treatment programs.”