High School Students Work Toward Career in Pharmacy

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On July 13, 25 high school students got one step closer to starting a career in pharmacy when they walked across the stage at the College’s Whelpley Auditorium and received a certificate recognizing their completion of the Walgreens-St. Louis College of Pharmacy Career Explorers Diversity Outreach Program. Friends and family of participating students packed the auditorium for the graduation ceremony, and thunderous applause could be heard each time a student’s name was called.

Now in its 13th year, the program is designed to give a diverse group of high school juniors and seniors a firsthand look at the profession of pharmacy. The students were selected from across the region in a competitive application process. During the four-week program, they attended classroom sessions at the College, explored health care professions during field trips—including trips to the Saint Louis Zoo’s Endangered Species Research Center & Veterinary Hospital, Corum Health Services in Chesterfield, and Lindenwood Pharmacy—and worked as pharmacy technicians at a Walgreens location.

Seventy-nine graduates of the program have gone on to enroll at St. Louis College of Pharmacy. The College’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion coordinated the program with assistance from Clark Kebodeaux, Pharm.D., BCACP, assistant professor of pharmacy practice, and Kilinyaa Cothran, R.Ph., M.Ed., director of professional affairs.

“It was an unbelievable experience to work with all of the students who participated in the Walgreens Explorers Program this summer. In representing both Walgreens and St. Louis College of Pharmacy, it is truly a privilege to introduce these aspiring high school students from the St. Louis metropolitan area to the wonderful profession of pharmacy,” Kebodeaux, also a Walgreens pharmacist, says.

Walgreens Explorers at the zoo.

Cothran shared a similar sentiment about the graduating students.

“I was impressed with the maturity and intelligence of the 25 students this summer,” she says. “Their desire to learn and their engaging personalities kept me focused and inspired. It was a great pleasure to meet each of them and work with them for the four weeks of the program. I know that each of them will be successful in whatever endeavors they choose, but I hope that they choose to join us here at STLCOP.”

Applications for next year’s program will be accepted in January.

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