SOP Students Tour Major Science Non-Profit; Learn About Prospective Careers

School of Pharmacy’s Job Ready Program teams up with AMCP student chapter to offer one-of-a-kind tour of the US Pharmacopeial Convention.

By Brian Ung
November 7, 2013

Nearly 100 student pharmacists from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy gathered in Rockville, Md., on Oct. 24 to gain an in-depth look at the US Pharmacopeial Convention (USP). The event, which was organized by the School’s Job Ready Program and the student chapter of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP), included presentations that highlighted USP programs and activities related to the pharmacy profession.

“This event provided a great opportunity for students to learn about other types of careers in pharmacy, beyond the traditional options,” says Farrah Tavakoli, a first-year student pharmacist. “It was wonderful to hear first-hand what the presenters had to say about their jobs and to have the chance to network with future employers in person.”

Founded in 1820, the USP works to ensure the quality of medicines, food ingredients, and dietary supplements manufactured, distributed, and consumed worldwide. The USP is a scientific non-profit organization that sets standards for the identity, strength, quality, and purity of these products. Its standards are enforced in the United States through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Speakers who presented during the event included Commander Jaewon Hong, senior health promotion officer at the FDA; Lucinda Maine, PhD, RPh, executive vice president and chief executive officer of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy; Rear Admiral Chris Bina, PharmD, director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ pharmacy program with the US Public Health Service; Captain Rosalynda Uy, pharmacy supply section chief for the US Army’s Medical Service Corps; Commander Aaron P. Middlekauff, PharmD, pharmacy executive for the US Coast Guard; Mary A. Andrawis, PharmD, MPH, field co-director of medication safety in the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; and Donna Bohannon, RPh, scientific liaison for Nomenclature, Safety, and Labeling at the USP. Presentations were designed to educate students about potential career paths in government and industry.

“This was a great opportunity to hear from pharmacists employed in government and industry positions,” says Rachel Smith, another second-year student pharmacist at the School. “The presentations really opened my eyes to other potential areas in which pharmacists can make an impact.”

Between presentations, students had the opportunity to meet and network with the speakers to ask questions about their jobs and daily duties. The tour also provided a wealth of information about non-traditional pharmacy roles. “I thought that it was a great experience. This event really showed that careers in the pharmacy profession have no limits,” adds Elissa Lechtenstein, a first-year student pharmacist.

Led by Margaret Hayes, MS, director of student educational services and outreach at the School, the Job Ready Program at the School of Pharmacy strives to collaborate with faculty, employers, student organizations, and other stakeholders to enhance the employability skills of the School’s student pharmacists through a wide range of activities. It hopes to continue its partnership with AMCP to provide similar opportunities for student pharmacists in the future.

“In addition to AMCP, we collaborated with Arline Bilbo, director of member and professional relations at USP, and Robin Campbell, SPHR, member and professionals relations coordinator at USP, to provide this opportunity to introduce students to careers in both government and industry,” says Hayes. “Students received a variety of information to integrate into their career choices, which will help to serve as a roadmap to aid them in finding their best-fit career. Making opportunities like the USP visit available to our students is one reason that the School developed the Job Ready Program.”

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