Graduate Awards celebrate research, scholarship, service
The 2022 Graduate Awards luncheon recognized success among the SoP’s graduate students. In his keynote speech, Dean Joseph DiPiro, Pharm.D., told the audience of students, faculty and staff, “We are in the right field. There is a lot of need and a lot of opportunity in pharmacy.”
A highlight was the presentation of the first Dr. Richard A. Glennon Research Award in medicinal chemistry to Charles “C.J.” Jones (M.S.’21/P) by Umamaheswar Siripurapu, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’08/P). In an emotional speech, Siripurapu described how, as a student, tight finances forced him to sleep in the lab; he would get up just before the janitorial staff arrived and was ready to drop out of the program. Thanks to his mentor Richard Glennon, Ph.D., he said, he won funding through the Werner Lowenthal award, continued his studies and earned his Ph.D. in 2008. Siripurapu now sponsors the Glennon award.
Rector Rorrer Dean’s Award 2022
The Charles T. Rector & Thomas W. Rorrer Jr. Dean’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Study is the capstone award for the VCU School of Pharmacy Graduate Awards.
Recipient: Vasco Pontinha
- PERSONAL QUOTE: “I am very honored and humbled for being the recipient of the Rector Rorrer Dean’s Award this year. I truly believe that awards are the formal recognition that one is doing great science and working with amazing people. I am so fortunate to have been mentored by truly amazing faculty over the past four years. Dr. Holdford has indelibly changed my life and provided me with an opportunity of a lifetime — he is a mentor, a friend and a role model. It is no surprise that two of his students are among the few in the Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science department to have received this award. I hope to continue the legacy of excellence in pharmacy that previous awardees have built.”
- RESEARCH & SCHOLARSHIP: Expanding the scope of the pharmacy profession, developing pharmacy interventions and demonstrating the value of pharmacists in improving medication adherence. Pontinha has published eight peer-reviewed manuscripts and one book chapter, and has given six presentations at national or international scientific conferences. His work was supported by a competitive and generous PhRMA Foundation Predoctoral Award in Health Outcomes.
- TEACHING & MENTORSHIP: Lectures to Pharm.D.s in PHAR 513 and PHAR 660 classes and in a new Pharm.D. elective, “Introduction to the Pharmaceutical Industry.” He has taught Ph.D. students in PHAR 638 Pharmacy Benefits Management and in PHAR 637 Introduction to Research Methods in Pharmacy. Developed online surveys to assess student perceptions on topics and developed original lectures. Pontinha received highest evaluation scores in all 12 courses he served as a TA.
- LEADERSHIP & SERVICE: Student network chair for the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR); vice president and President of the ISPOR VCU student chapter; vice president of the DPOS Graduate Student Association.
- BIOSKETCH: Pontinha earned master’s degrees in pharmacy and management in Portugal and worked in consulting and brand management positions within industry.
- NOMINATING FACULTY: David Holdford, Pontinha’s adviser. “I thought Vasco would be a good candidate for the Rector Rorrer award because of his leadership as student network chair for the International Society of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research, his exceptional work as a teaching assistant and his groundbreaking research on trajectories of medication adherence.”
Full list of award winners:
- Nimishraj Panse: Thakker Family Award
- Renjie Zhan: Joseph P. Schwartz travel award
- Hadi Sudarjat: Joseph P. Schwartz travel award
- Tyler Wagner: Victor Yanchick Award
- Yuan Xiao: Pharmaceutics Leading for Innovation Award
- Shurong Zhou: John Wood Award
- Julia Hotinger: J. Doyle Smith Award
- Rosalie Hoyle: Best Publication Award (Medicinal Chemistry)
- Jeremy Rolquin: Dean’s M.S. Scholarly Excellence Award
- Vasco Pontinha: William Barr Graduate Scholarship
- Julia Hotinger: William Barr Graduate Scholarship
- Noah Herrington: Charles T. Rector and Thomas W. Rorrer Jr. Dean’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Study, finalist
- Julia Hotinger: Charles T. Rector and Thomas W. Rorrer Jr. Dean’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Study, finalist
- Hallie Blevins: Charles T. Rector and Thomas W. Rorrer Jr. Dean’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Study, finalist
- Shurong Zhou: Charles T. Rector and Thomas W. Rorrer, Jr. Dean’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Study, finalist
- Haley Mulder: Charles T. Rector and Thomas W. Rorrer Jr. Dean’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Study, Runner Up
- Vasco Pontinha: Charles T. Rector & Thomas W. Rorrer Jr. Dean’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Study