In February, four Belmont student pharmacists volunteered their time at a hands-on science summit for the Tennessee Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Research (TWISTER). TWISTER is a program to inform and motivate high school girls to pursue science and technology careers, provide positive role models and engage young women with limited opportunities for success in positive math and science experiences.
Pharmacy students Erica Evans, Laci Hendress, Jessica Paullet and Lindsey Smith dedicated a Saturday to mentor young women and promote pharmacy as a career field. These students modeled the professional, career-oriented women who work in pharmacy to 9th through 12th grade girls. “TWISTER seems to be a wonderful opportunity for these highly motivated individuals,” said Hendress.
These four women have demonstrated excellence in academic coursework, the work place and extracurricular activities while at Belmont. “I was excited to have the opportunity to give back, especially to this group of girls because I had so many mentors in my life who inspired me to set my goals higher and to go achieve them,” said Smith.
The four students gave a 15 minute presentation, followed by a series of pharmacy-oriented, hands-on lab activities: compounding ointments, accurate measurement exercises and a timed pill-counting competition.
TWISTER’s effect on the lives of high school participants is immeasurable. Belmont University School of Pharmacy and TWISTER hope to continue to inspire young women to excel in the sciences and educate them on possible career options. Paullet said, “If I can make a difference in one girl’s life and help guide her along a career path, then it is well worth the time spent.”
As a result, Belmont University has been invited to become a 2011-2012 Science Communication Fellow for the Adventure Science Center of Nashville. As a Fellow, Belmont will build sustainable partnerships with the science community, provide professional development opportunities that prepare scientists, and create public programs throughout Tennessee. “Twister was a wonderful experience and we are thrilled to extend our efforts as part of a program that is offered at only five science centers across the country,” said Dr. Ronda Bryant, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice and project mentor. “Being a 2011-2012 Science Communication Fellow is a privilege.”