Hillsboro High School students visited the College of Pharmacy March 20 as part of a job shadowing program designed to expose them to the pharmacy profession and expand student interest in the pharmaceutical field.
“Health care and pharmacy are changing now, and the industry wants to be prepared. PharmD is a terminal degree and a commitment. The high school age group is good to target because they will know whether this is for them or not,” said Assistant Professor Edgar S. Diaz-Cruz, who serves as an advisory board member for Hillsboro’s Global Health Academy. “High school students also can gain valuable experience as a certified technician, and we want to expose them to that. This was a chance for them to see our facilities and research labs and get to interact with our students and faculty.”
The job shadow day was made possible in part by the Walgreens Diversity Donation award, which aims to recruit minorities to the pharmaceutical field.
“I never thought about all the things pharmacists do, like working in labs and making medicine. It’s a broad field,” said Hillsboro junior Zacnite Vargas. She said she is now considering pharmacy in addition to her previous goal of pediatric medicine.
The students learned about the formulation of drugs, careers in pharmacy, visited Belmont’s Pharmacy and simulation labs and met with Dean Phil Johnston.
“It’s important for our kids to know the opportunities available to them, what is expected of them in college and that what we are doing in school is on target for them to get there,” said Hillsboro health sciences teacher Emily Carter, who accompanied the seven students on their visit to Belmont. “This was a fabulous opportunity to get them re-engaged in their classes.”
Fourth-year pharmacy student Cortney Manning showed the high school students around the pharmacy, how to fill a prescription as well as the steps taken to ensure the correct medications get to the right person.
“It was nice to give them tips that would help them be successful in pharmacy school and influence their decisions to come to a pharmacy school at all,” she said.