Advice to class of ’17: “You have the tools to succeed!”
“Wherever you go, you will be part of the School of Pharmacy family.” With those words, Dean Joseph T. DiPiro congratulated Pharm.D. and graduate degree candidates assembled for the 2017 Hooding and Diploma Ceremony.
He noted that the Class of ’17 can boast high achievers, accomplished leaders, students who have maintained high levels of professionalism and graduates who are going on to great careers in many domains of pharmacy. “It is a privilege,” he said, “to be in a profession where your career will result in bettering people’s lives.”
Graduation speaker Marcia Buck of the school’s U.Va. Division, who is president of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, admitted that looking to the future can be overwhelming and even scary. “You have the tools to succeed,” she assured graduates.
Her suggestions for success included looking for and accepting mentors and serving as a preceptor if the opportunity presents itself.
Buck has been precepting VCU pharmacy students for 25 years. In her experience, she said, “It is one of the best pharmacy schools in the world!”
About two-thirds of the Pharm.D. graduates will be practicing pharmacists across the country. That includes Sana Noori, who has been working with Walgreens and Bon Secours in the Richmond area since her second year of pharmacy school. “I’ve decided to stay on with both,” she said. “With Walgreens, I’ll be a community pharmacist. And with Bon Secours, I’ll be a staff inpatient hospital pharmacist. … I want to keep my skills sharp with both aspects of pharmacy.”
The remaining Pharm.D. students matched with residencies, received fellowships or will pursue graduate education. Elizabeth Young is headed for a PGY1 residency at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine.
“I have known for a while that I wanted to pursue a career in veterinary pharmacy,” she said. “I grew up on a farm, my father is a small-animal veterinarian and, as an undergraduate at Virginia Tech, I obtained a pharmacy technician position at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, which really solidified my choice.”
She was able to take an elective veterinary course at VCU which, she noted, not all pharmacy schools offer. She also had the opportunity to complete a rotation with North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine through VCU SOP’s Office of Experiential Education. Her ultimate goal is to work for a veterinary teaching hospital pharmacy — “hopefully … Virginia Tech.”
Graduate degree-holders will go on to serve as postdocs, teach or work in the pharmaceutical industry. Hebing Liu, for example, will join several VCU School of Pharmacy alumni who have gone on to work for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.