By H.W. “Ted” Matthews
It’s that time again. Time to bid farewell to another group of extraordinary students who successfully completed our curricula and emerged uniquely prepared to serve. On May 10, more than 100 Mercer pharmacy students will earn their Doctor of Pharmacy or Doctor of Philosophy degrees during our commencement ceremony. It will be a wonderful culmination of years of sacrifices and prayers, trials and triumphs for our graduates and their families.
Each commencement exercise is different. Each one takes on the unique characteristics of the graduates, their families and their collective journeys that led them to the defining moment of graduation. And the terminal degree – the doctorate – affords the recipient a title of both respect and responsibility.
There are a number of characteristics that distinguish the graduating Class of 2014. Among them, more than 20 have been matched for residency, fellowship and graduate school placements. As described by the Office of Student Affairs and Admissions, I’d like to share the abbreviated accomplishments and future endeavors of four of our graduates as an example of what’s great about our students and their commitment to leadership and service. These students personify what it means to be a graduate of Mercer College of Pharmacy.
Lindsey Carter is a candidate in the Doctor of Pharmacy/Master of Business Administration joint degree program at Mercer. While matriculating through both pharmacy and business programs, Lindsey has participated in study abroad experiences in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Paris, France; and Milan, Italy, and is currently completing a hospital rotation in Pamplona, Spain. Some of her past research experiences were conducted at the Sackler Institute of the New York University School of Medicine and the Georgia Institute of Technology. Lindsey’s leadership experiences include serving as the Mercer University Student Liaison for the American College of Clinical Pharmacy; Chaplain of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association- Mercer University Chapter; and Interfraternal Council Representative of the Alpha Delta Chapter of Kappa Epsilon professional pharmacy fraternity. She is the recipient of a number of awards, including the 2013 Georgia Society of Health-System Pharmacists Outstanding Pharmacy Intern/Extern Award; the Tom and Elizabeth Perkins Scholarship; and the Walgreens Diversity Scholarship.
Joanne Nguyen was initially drawn to the field of pharmacy as a result of her passion for helping others and her desire for learning chemistry. Her parents, who are Vietnamese immigrants, serve as her major source of motivation and inspiration. Joanne’s success as a student and leader is reflected in her many academic achievements and organizational involvements. She is currently a member of the Rho Chi and Phi Kappa Phi Academic Honor Societies. She also held numerous leadership roles within the College of Pharmacy, including vice president of the Georgia Society of Health-System Pharmacists. After graduation, Joanne was matched and will enter an Ambulatory Care Focus PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at Auburn University. Her ultimate career goal is to provide excellent care as a clinical specialist and educate future students as an academic professor.
Jared Safran graduated from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., with a B.A. in Economics. He then went on to pursue a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences degree from Midwestern University located outside of Chicago. While attending pharmacy school at Mercer, he spent a lot of time in the community volunteering at Summer’s Landing Tilly Mill in Dunwoody, Ga., and the Atlanta chapter of Habitat for Humanity, among others. He served as president of Mercer’s Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy student chapter; and student representative for the Assessment Committee for the Accreditation Council of Pharmacy Education at Mercer.
Blake Shay has held several pharmacy leadership positions during his time at Mercer University, including Council of Students president-elect and president; Phi Lambda Sigma treasurer; APhA-ASP Pharmflix co-chair; and Honor Council representative. In addition to those elected leadership positions, he has also held several appointed leadership positions including President’s Advisory Council representative, ACPE Curriculum Committee member and Curriculum Sub-committee member. Since his first year in pharmacy school, Blake has worked at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta part-time. After graduation, Blake has been matched and will pursue a two-year health-system pharmacy administration residency and a master’s degree in pharmacy administration at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio.
Congratulations to the Class of 2014.
H.W. “Ted” Matthews
H.W. “Ted” Matthews, Ph.D., is dean of the College of Pharmacy and senior vice president for health sciences, serving as head of the Mercer Health Sciences Center. His blog appears each month on the College’s tumblr page at http://MercerCOP.tumblr.com.