School of Pharmacy Goes Virtual for New Student Welcome Day

Online webinar featuring presentations from the School’s leadership and faculty helps put members of the Class of 2024 on the path to success in their first year of pharmacy school.

By Malissa Carroll
June 18, 2020

The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy hosted its annual New Student Welcome Day for members of the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) Class of 2024 on June 12. Traditionally an in-person event held at Pharmacy Hall, New Student Welcome Day was hosted online this year to help safeguard the health of faculty, staff, and students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the event, students also learned that all classes for the fall semester would be delivered virtually.

“In my 12 years as dean of the School of Pharmacy, responding to and dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the most challenging experiences that we have gone through,” said Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the School. “The pandemic has impacted us all in significant ways, changing the way we work, learn, and navigate the world. I believe that the continuation of virtual academic delivery for the fall is the best and most equitable decision to ensure the health and safety of our School community and to assist in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.”

In her remarks to students, Eddington also addressed the nationwide protests being held in response to the brutal murders of African Americans at the hands of law enforcement, encouraging students to uphold the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) core values and support each other during these challenging times.

“As dean of the School of Pharmacy, a concerned citizen, and an individual who has felt the injustice of racism, I believe that it is important that our community embrace the UMB core values of accountability, civility, collaboration, diversity, excellence, knowledge, and leadership, which guide us in our work, especially in these challenging times,” she said. “But, these values need to be more than words. They need to be guiding principles that drive our personal, professional, and academic actions and interactions, and that demonstrate a commitment to do all that we can to recognize and support each and every member of our community.”

Following Eddington’s opening remarks, the Class of 2024 had an opportunity to meet their class advisor, Sandeep Devabhakthuni, PharmD, BCPS, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS), as well as learn important information about the curriculum and financial aid.

“Your coursework will be rigorous, but remember that we are training you to become the future leaders of the pharmacy profession,” said Andrew Coop, PhD, professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) and associate dean for academic affairs at the School of Pharmacy. “Do not back down from the challenges that you will face here. Take them on.”

Third-year student pharmacist and Student Government Association President Maria Palmer and second-year student pharmacist and Class of 2023 President Sharonne Temple also joined the webinar to welcome the incoming class to the School and introduce a new “big-little” mentor program that will pair each member of the Class of 2024 with a second-year student pharmacist to help set them up for success in their first year of pharmacy school.

The School of Pharmacy plans to host additional virtual events for the Class of 2024 throughout the summer to provide more opportunities for students to meet each other and other members of the School’s community. Faculty and staff also look forward to welcoming students in August for New Student Orientation.

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