JACKSON, Tenn. – May 16, 2012 – Before entering the School of Pharmacy at Union University, Kate Wilcoxen was a high school chemistry teacher.
“A few months into pharmacy school, I realized how much I missed being in the classroom,” said Wilcoxen, a second-year student. “So I asked Dr. (Sean) King to help me prepare for a career in pharmacy academia.”
In April, Wilcoxen and King, as well as fourth-year student Erica Rogers and her faculty mentor Kim Jones, assistant dean of students for the School of Pharmacy, received awards from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy for their dedication to academic pharmacy.
They were named to a list of 75 student-faculty pairs from across the nation who will receive a $1,000 travel scholarship from the AACP Walmart Scholarship Fund to attend the association’s annual meeting and teachers’ seminar in Kissimmee, Fla., July 14-18. Wilcoxen will also present a research poster at the conference.
The AACP Walmart Scholarship program is designed to strengthen the recipients’ skills and commitment to a career in academic pharmacy through participation in programming and activities at the conference, said Katie Owings, AACP research and education program assistant, in an e-mail to faculty mentors.
Both Rogers and Wilcoxen said they are drawn to academics because they have a passion for research and for passing on the profession.
“My interest in academic pharmacy has continuously grown since my first year of pharmacy school,” Rogers said. “While in pharmacy school my research professor instilled in me the importance of incorporating teaching, research and service into the future of academic pharmacy. I know the only way I can ensure these beliefs are passed on to future pharmacists is to be a part of their education from the beginning.”
Their interest in academia comes at a crucial time. King said a report last year showed pharmacy programs in the AACP had, on average, 3.74 faculty positions that needed to be filled.
“It is imperative to the profession that students receive the quality education not only which they deserve but also that which is required to effectively provide patient care,” King said. “The success of any pharmacy program will always be closely associated with the teaching abilities of its faculty members.”
By Samantha Adams (’13)