Written By: Diamond Rose Melendez, First-Year Student Pharmacist

A few weeks ago, I received an invitation from Cherokee Layson-Wolf, PharmD, BCACP, FAPhA, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) and associate dean for student affairs at the School of Pharmacy, to help staff a booth sponsored by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) at the fourth annual USA Science and Engineering Festival held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. The festival was predicted to attract 350,000 attendees over three days. The event was huge, and the AACP booth was a very popular exhibit.

Lip Balm: Not Just A Fashion Statement

At the booth, our team of student pharmacists partnered with staff members from AACP to help visitors compound lip balm. This was a truly exciting and unique opportunity to showcase the skills that I have obtained during my first year at the School of Pharmacy, as well as to use my knowledge to help get children involved and excited about the pharmacy profession.

The children were amazed by the demonstration and eager to learn about pharmacy. Their parents were also intrigued to learn about the field of compounding pharmacy and excited to participate in the activity. We encouraged both children and parents to ask questions about the pharmacy profession, and I spoke with several high school students who expressed an interested in pursuing careers in pharmacy. They wanted to know more about the roles of pharmacist and the steps that they would need to take in order to pursue pharmacy as a career path.

Shining Light on the Profession

Perhaps one of my most memorable experiences from the festival was having the opportunity to speak with a graduating high school senior who wasn’t sure whether nursing or pharmacy was the path for her, as she most wanted to work in a hospital setting. I am so glad that my classmates and I had the chance to pull her to the side for a more in-depth conversation and assure her that pharmacists play a very important role in the clinical setting. She was not even aware that clinical positions were available for pharmacists!

Overall, it was great to see both children and parents so actively engaged in compounding. They asked a lot of brilliant questions and were excited to take the end product home with them. It was truly a privilege to represent the School of Pharmacy while working side-by-side with the representatives from AACP. I believe that we made a positive impact on many attendees, and hope we were able to spark interest and convince at least one person — if not many — that pharmacy is a captivating, dynamic, and rewarding career choice.

USA Science & Engineering Festival (2016)

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