AACP/WAL-MART INITIATIVE OFFERS STUDENTS A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY
THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATIONof Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) andWal-Mart share a common goal: tohelp colleges and schools of pharmacyensure that there are a sufficient numberof well-prepared students whohope to pursue a career in academia.An AACP/Wal-Mart initiative is providingthe opportunity.
The July 2006 AACP Annual Meetingand Seminar in San Diego, Calif,marked the second year for the Wal-Mart Annual Conference ScholarshipProgram. The pharmacy student scholarshipprogram provided $1000 scholarshipsto 36 student-faculty pairs fromAACP member institutions. The scholarshipscovered 100% of the students'registration costs and 50% of the facultymembers'registration costs at the early-birdrate. The scholarships also coveredregistration for both the students andthe faculty mentors to attend the TeachersSeminar. The winners were able toapply the remainder of the scholarshipsto airfare, lodging, and other meetingexpenses for the students.
Wal-Mart announced at the 2006meeting that the company would doubleits financial contributions for 2007.Lucinda Maine, PhD, RPh, executivevice president of AACP, said that withthe increased funds, she anticipates 50 to60 student-faculty pairs for the nextmeeting. The following are 2 firsthandaccounts from students who were selectedto participate in this year's program:
PROGRAM BENEFITS DRAKEUNIVERSITY STUDENT—MATTHEW PITLICK
Thanks to this dynamic scholarshipprogram with Wal-Mart andAACP, I was able to take part in theAACP Annual Meeting and experienceit with my advisor/mentor from DrakeUniversity. If you are interested inbecoming a faculty member or desireto become an academic pharmacist,then this is the meeting for you. Theannual meeting is designed to helpguide faculty members from colleges ofpharmacy on becoming better teachersand mentors.
This was a great chance for me to seewhat it means to be an academic pharmacist.I, like most student pharmacists,only get to see the teaching aspectof faculty members'duties. I learnedvery quickly, however, that teaching isonly a small piece of what academicpharmacists do. They also mentor studentpharmacists and other young facultymembers, partake in research orscholarship, and most participate inservice activities—all the while keepingtime for themselves and their families.The role of an academic pharmacist isvery demanding, but I also saw at themeeting that it is one of the mostrewarding fields in pharmacy. The passionand motivation these great pharmacistshave comes from the personalrewards they receive, such as aphone call from a former advisee or aschool teaching award.
Two very good reasonswhy every studentshould attendthis meeting includeopportunity and networking.Many pharmacistsin a widerange of fields ofpharmacy attend theconference, and youwill likely find a professor who sharesyour interests with whom you can discusscareer options.Maybe you can setup an academic rotation at anothercollege of pharmacy or give your informationto a residency director. Theopportunities seem endless. I firmlybelieve, however, after attending thismeeting, you will have a great deal ofrespect for all faculty members andhave a newfound interest in academia.
I would like to thank AACP and Wal-Mart for the scholarship program thatenabled me to be able to attend themeeting.This is a great opportunity forstudents and their mentors to getinvolved and a great opportunity forstudents to see how rewarding a careerin academia can be.
MEETING SPARKS STUDENTINTEREST IN PHARMACYACADEMIA—STEPHANIECHO
As a pharmacy student, the million-dollar question thus far hadalways been: "Clinical or communitypharmacy, which path should Ichoose?" I had toyed with the idea ofpursuing academia in the past, but Iknew very little about the area. Followinga few meetings with my mentorsCatherine Jarvis, PharmD, andConnie Valdez, PharmD, at the Universityof Colorado at Denver andHealth Sciences Center School ofPharmacy, and getting a glimpse ofwhat they do and what a career inacademia entails, the realization thatI could have a future in pharmacyacademia began coming intofruition. My mentors encouraged meto attend the AACP Annual Meetingto help foster my budding interests inacademia, and I was very fortunate tobe one of the 36 recipients of the Wal-Mart/AACP Conference Scholarship.
The theme for the AACP AnnualMeeting was "Sailing Toward OurFuture Success," and for me personally,this title was very fitting. I discoveredthings that would have taken mea lifetime to learn on my own abouttopics ranging from teaching techniques,leadership, professionalism,the importance of networking andmentors, and balancing personal lifeand career. At the conference, I alsoappreciated getting to know the otherUniversity of Colorado faculty memberson a more personallevel outsidethe realm of theclassroom. It was aprivilege to discusswhat motivates andinspires them andwhy they decided topursue academia. Idiscovered that we allshare a passion in teaching and givingback to a profession we are very passionateabout and proud of. Meetingand relating to these amazing leadersin the field showed me that I too couldpursue similar achievements. I foundWal-Mart's vision of supportingfuture faculty and pharmacy academiaas a way to ensure the future of pharmacyto be innovative and brilliant.This experience has truly cultivatedand strengthened my aspirations of acareer in pharmacy academia.