Gamecocks on the Go: Student pharmacists reflect on summer internship and fellowship
experiences of Summer 2022
Tell us about your summer internship experience:
“I spent the month of July as a pharmacy fellow for Congressman – and pharmacist –
Buddy Carter. I learned so much over my five-week stay on Capitol Hill and I’m truly
thankful that I was granted this unique experience."
What did your typical day look like as a Capitol Hill intern?
“My typical day consisted of the basic intern duties such as answering calls and running
errands – but I also had the opportunity to assist our Health Legislative Aid with
various tasks that related to the profession of pharmacy. The most memorable experience
for me was being able to attend the weekly Doctors Caucus meetings, where members
of Congress who are also medical professionals come together to discuss ways to improve
public health in our country.”
What past experiences or prior knowledge helped you to be successful in this internship?
“The UofSC College of Pharmacy does an excellent job at professional development,
and it really helped me this summer! To my surprise, there was a lot of ‘customer
service’ that goes into working on the Hill. I was even applauded for how well I was
able to talk to constituents and handle their concerns and problems that needed our
attention. The medical knowledge I’ve gained as a student in the College of Pharmacy,
as well as working at Prisma Health Children’s Hospital, helped me be an asset to
Congressman Carter’s office. I was able to directly apply my experiences with patient
care and the health care system to the various health policy issues that we were addressing.”
Would you recommend this internship to pharmacy students in the future?
“I would recommend an internship on Capitol Hill if you’re looking for a future in
health policy or profession advocacy. I want to stress that an open mind is key when
applying for different offices as health care needs more bipartisanship. Regardless
of the member’s political party, at the end of the day, everyone on the Hill is still
a human being. You’d be surprised what you can learn when you surround yourself with
people whose opinions may differ from that of your own.”
Beyond the actual internship, what other perks or learning opportunities did you enjoy
“I loved being surrounded by so much history! I think it’s so important for us as
a society to learn from what our country’s past can teach us. I also enjoyed the variety
of what the city has to offer. I thought Columbia was big when I moved from my hometown
of Florence, but now Columbia seems tiny! You get the big city feel, but all the people
are so friendly. The food is also incredible!”
How does this experience relate to your long-term educational or career goals?
“I believe my internship has really prepared me for a future in the government affairs
of pharmacy associations. Lobbyists often get a bad reputation for being too specific
and not thinking about the big picture… Now that I’ve been on the big picture side
of things, I feel as though I will be more effective at advocating for my patients
and my profession through policy-driven, pharmacy-focused initiatives.”
What’s next for you?
“After I conclude my P3 year, I hope to spend more time in D.C. completing rotations
at a few of the pharmacy associations – or even back on the Hill! As a SCPhA junior
board member that sits on the House of Delegates Policy Taskforce and serves as a
JBM Legislation co-chair, I hope to use my passion for policy to further advocate
for my profession on the state level.”
About CharLeigh Steverson
CharLeigh Steverson is a third-year pharmacy student at the UofSC College of Pharmacy.
She is originally from Florence, South Carolina. CharLeigh serves as president of
the Alpha Lambda Chapter of Kappa Epsilon as well as a student ambassador for the
College of Pharmacy.
Topics: Student Experience, Pharm.D. Program