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College of Pharmacy


Walker Leader Scholar Blog

Applicant Recruitment: Laura-Jane Baker-Straw

January is always an exciting month for the Walker Scholars, as it is the time of year when we recruit applicants for the next year! During that process, our beloved donor, Donna Walker, joins us in person to help aid in the process. One of my favorite parts of the program is having the opportunity to have dinner with Donna and her mother, Mrs. Jeanette Walker, along with Mrs. Kathy and the rest of the scholars. We all bring different ideas, interests, and passions to the table and have great discussions about the future of the program, the future of the profession and how we can be exemplary leaders not only in our profession but also in health care. A table full of creative minds is certainly a roundtable discussion I love being a part of! During our evening, Taylor and I nominated each other and were selected by a unanimous vote that we would be the inaugural co-presidents of the Walker Leadership Scholars Alumni Foundation and were tasked with planning an event of all current and future scholars in the year 2020. We are excited to see how the program grows and implements change in our nation. I always leave any conversation with Donna feeling not only incredibly blessed for the opportunity of a lifetime that she has gifted me, but also inspired and empowered to go and do. We look forward to the application process and adding more scholars to our program!

Donna Speaks to P1 Class: Anna Todd

The spring 2018 semester has been off to a busy and fast start! The Walker Leadership Scholars were so happy to welcome Donna Walker back to the College of Pharmacy a couple weeks ago to speak to the P1 class and discuss our individual and team goals for the semester. The entire P1 class was in attendance to hear Mrs. Walker’s background in pharmacy and leadership. At the end of the presentation, each of the scholars shared one specific event or opportunity that the program provided us within the last year that we felt has given us the most leadership growth and insight. This was a great way for us to relate to the P1s and share with them how many opportunities for growth lies ahead in their pharmacy careers.After the presentation, the entire committee met for lunch to discuss the upcoming semester and future plans for the program. These meetings are always special and one of my favorite parts of the semester since we only have the entire committee together a couple times each year. This semester, each scholar chose a specific task to take ownership of to facilitate organization and individual growth within the program. It was so great to speak with Mrs. Walker in person and have her as a source of guidance and mentorship throughout the program.Looking forward to the rest of the semester, I am excited about attending the PLS Conference in Charleston and APhA annual meeting in Nashville. Additionally, we have begun the process of choosing our next two Walker Leadership Scholars following Mrs. Walker’s visit earlier this month. I am looking forward to seeing what additional opportunities lie ahead for us as we close out the school year!

I have my Mind Made Up: Chuck Hennes

 January has been one of the busiest months that I have been involved with in the WLS program. We started the selection process for two new members of our program and oh man it is a lot of work. January was all about meeting up with the one and only Donna Walker, who just recently was awarded the Phi Lambda Sigma Alumnus of the Year award, and discussing the upcoming selection process. All of the WLS members were able to meet up for dinner with Mrs. Walker, her mother, and the head of the WLS committee Mrs. Kathy Quarles-Moore. There we discussed various topics ranging from each of our individual interests/goals for the program to hot-button issues in the pharmacy profession. It was a fantastic time to build the bonds of our program and further the camaraderie amongst our group. We also had the opportunity to speak to the first-year pharmacy students and potential future Walker Leadership Scholars about what has been the most impactful portion of the program in our lives. I was able to tell the students my story of how my original views of pharmacy changed from wanting to work for a company like CVS, to wanting to work in a hospital, to now wanting to pursue an MHIT degree and work in Pharmaceutical Industry. I’m looking forward to next month, where we start reviewing all of the candidates’ applications and start the interview process to get to know these potential scholars. One busy month down and 2 more even more challenging ones to come! Thankfully we have a tremendous support system amongst our program and we are always there to pick each other up.  

Getting the Residency: Taylor & Laura Jane

This month, Laura Jane and I took our first steps toward achieving one of the goals we set at the beginning of our time in this program: attaining a PGY1 pharmacy residency. We always felt that we worked well as a team due to the fact that we had similar long term goals, and we grew closer as we worked together in this program due to our interests. I have always been passionate about patient care, and through my clinical rotations this year, that passion has been reaffirmed, and I have discovered a love of pediatrics. While Laura Jane has always been interested in inpatient acute care residencies, she realized over the course of this year that she enjoys a more longstanding relationship with the patient. Through the mentorship of Ms. Walker and other individuals she met throughout the course of the program, she was able to reflect on her pharmacy experiences and determine her true passion: ambulatory care. We began the month of December with a trip to ASHP's Clinical Midyear Meeting, where we both presented the results of our research. My research revealed the results of a project I have worked on throughout pharmacy school about the patient perception of community pharmacy and the job responsibilities of the employees who work to fill their prescriptions. Laura Jane's research focuses on a more clinical aspect of pharmacy and looks at the effects of capped heparin dosing on time to therapeutic aPTTs in the treatment of VTEs.  While there, we also had the opportunity to attend the residency showcase and ask questions of residents and program directors. Our time in the Walker Leadership Scholars program prepared us well for this environment, and we felt well prepared to start a conversation with everyone at the residency booths. We were able to ask questions and make judgments about which residency programs would be the best fit for us based on these conversations. I had my first off month during the month of December, and I spent the remainder of the month preparing my applications. I applied to nine residency programs, six of which have a pediatric focus and three of which offer a general background in both adult and pediatric medicine. Laura Jane applied to eight programs, all of which were ambulatory care focused. We both also focused on programs that offer a strong teaching certificate program, as our time in the Walker Leadership Scholars Program taught us both the importance of mentorship. We both hope that in the future we will be able to contribute not only to this program as alumni, but also to other schools of pharmacy to help encourage young pharmacy leaders to pursue leadership training. We are now working on developing patience, and we are excited to see where we will embark on our first year of post graduate pharmacy training!

How does inhibition of CDK7 affect the growth of Breast Cancer cells?: Chuck Hennes

This was a very eventful month for myself and the rest of the Walker scholars. I had the opportunity to present a research poster entitled “How does inhibition of CDK7 affect the growth of Breast Cancer cells?” at the 2017 ASHP Midyear meeting in Orlando, Florida. This was my second time presenting a poster ASHP’s national meeting and was my best time yet! Even though I am just a second year pharmacy student, I still had the opportunity to go and introduce myself to various residency program directors and network with them for when I eventually apply to their programs during my fourth year. I also had the opportunity to network with various pharmaceutical companies speaking with many of their representatives. While talking to these programs and companies, I expressed that I was very interested in informatics and analytics. After hearing from these various groups that there is in an increasing need for this relatively newer field of pharmacy, it has only increased my interest and makes me want to get more involved in this subject area. Another great aspect of attending this event was that I was able to see two of our Walker Leadership Scholar alumni Kendall Tucker and Parth Parikh. Both Kendall and Parth are currently doing PGY-1 residencies and had their own booths talking to various students about their respective programs. This was very helpful for me personally because Kendall and I both share the same interest in informatics and he gave me lots of very helpful advice about pursuing a career in this field.