Written By: Melissa Metry, Bryan Eng, and Raqeeb Jamil, PSC Graduate Students
Every year, the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) selects student chapters to receive its Student Chapter of the Year Award based on the service and outreach they provided to their local communities. The AAPS student chapter at the School of Pharmacy won this award in 2016, and – much to our excitement – earned it again this year. There are more than 100 AAPS student chapters worldwide, and we are among only a few to win this award more than once.
About Our Student Chapter
Founded in 1986, AAPS is a worldwide organization that is devoted to advancing the career paths of emerging pharmaceutical scientists through educational, professional, and outreach programs. The organization has grown to include more than 7,000 individual members and more than 10,000 stakeholders employed in academia, industry, government, and other research institutes worldwide. The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) AAPS Student Chapter, housed within the School of Pharmacy, was established in 1998, and includes an executive board and more than 30 actively participating graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty members. The chapter’s leadership includes Andrew Coop, PhD, associate dean for academic affairs and professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC), and our advisor Ryan Pearson, PhD, assistant professor in PSC. Our member benefits include, but are not limited to:
- Access to current industry news
- Reduced registration fees to the world’s largest gathering of pharmaceutical scientists, AAPS PharmSci 360
- Subscriptions to AAPS’ four leading peer-reviewed scientific journals:
- AAPS Journal
- AAPS Pharm SciTech
- AAPS Open
- Pharmaceutical Research
- Access to webinars, community forums and networks, and prestigious awards, travelships, and fellowships
- Discounts for workshops and online courses
- Access to all UMB student chapter events
Our chapter holds a variety of diverse and exciting programs throughout the year. We invite renowned C-suite level professionals, scientists, and government officials to the School to talk about cutting-edge topics and offer career advice to our members. We also host many professional development, social, and volunteer outreach events. Members looking for more involvement can also volunteer at the national level to promote our School and develop leadership skills.
Most notably, our chapter held a career development workshop at our School with past AAPS president Christopher McCurdy, PhD, after his informative talk on Kratom and opioid withdrawal syndrome. Our chapter also participated in the Maryland STEM Festival’s BioTech Day, where we educated middle school students about biotechnology through hands-on activities.
However, our reach also extends beyond our community. We have taken tours at the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Structured Organic Particulate Systems (CSOPS) at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.; the MedImmune (now AstraZeneca) manufacturing site in Frederick, Md.; and at Janssen Research & Development in Spring House, Pa. By extending our reach beyond the local community, we are able to develop an extensive network from which all of our members can benefit.
Student Chapter of the Year Award
Consideration for the AAPS Student Chapter of the Year Award entails an assessment by the AAPS national committee of a chapter’s activity and impact over the course of the past year. Our chapter won the award in 2016, and received an honorable mention in 2015 and 2017. Determined to win the award again, we aimed to do our best in the quality and reach of the events we planned for the 2018-2019 academic year. In doing so, we kept in mind AAPS’ mission “to advance the capacity of pharmaceutical scientists to develop products and therapies that improve global health.” In the past three years, we accomplished the impressive feat of organizing more than 50 events, with more than 20 of those events held in 2018-2019 alone. This helped us reach our goals and uphold the reputation of both the School of Pharmacy and AAPS. In addition to receiving the title of AAPS Student Chapter of the Year, we will receive a monetary reward to further support our chapter’s future goals.
We also hope to use this award as an opportunity to spread awareness of the importance of professional development, networking opportunities, and volunteering in and around the community. You can watch the short video below, created with the help of Mandy Wolfe, digital media specialist at the School, which showcases our chapter’s best practices.
What the Future Holds
We hope that our involvement with AAPS continues to bridge the gap between industry, academia, and government, and draws the attention of future employers and collaborators. Our chapter will continue to provide professional, educational, and social support to our members, PSC, the School of Pharmacy, and the greater UMB community. Being named the AAPS Student Chapter of the Year not only highlights the impactful research being conducted by our members, but also what we are capable of achieving as individuals as well as when we work together collaboratively.
We encourage anyone who is interested in pharmaceutical sciences to get involved with us, as our chapter spans a wide range of relevant and exciting scientific topics and their pertinence to the drug discovery and development process.
If you are interested in joining our organization, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.