Helping Hands: Teacher and Mentor Appreciation

Written By: Cynthia J. Boyle, PharmD, Professor of Pharmacy Practice and Science

Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of Helping Hands stories authored by School of Pharmacy faculty, staff, students, trainees, and alumni who stepped up to assist their family and friends, colleagues, and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During graduation season, there is a certain sense of nostalgia that is especially pronounced for faculty at the School of Pharmacy. We may remember our own significant graduation milestones or recall the graduates with whom we have worked closely over the years. Increasingly, I continue to take pride in alumni who are making an impact in their communities and the profession of pharmacy. We tend to focus on the four years pharmacy graduates spend with us, but we overlook their previous educators who prepared them for pharmacy school.

This aspect of the educational legacy came to life in a way I had not expected in more than 20 years as a pharmacist-educator. As a co-advisor with Emily Heil, PharmD, BCPS-AQ ID, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science, for the Phi Lambda Sigma (PLS) student organization, I have enjoyed getting to know all of the members, especially the elected officers and volunteers who lead PLS’s planning and activities. Fourth-year student pharmacist Saniya Chaudhry served as PLS president during her third year. She was especially helpful to her classmates and the student body at large in the areas of resilience, learning from failure, and grit in leadership development.

During Saniya’s fourth year of pharmacy school, we had agreed to meet last fall (photo taken then) to talk about post-graduation plans. In planning for our meeting, Saniya found a surprising connection on social media in that Kate Brantley was not only her high school teacher, but also my daughter. I was amazed to learn that, 10 years ago, Saniya had taken a course with my daughter at Franklin High School in Reisterstown, Md., and now, I have the pleasure of teaching and mentoring her, just as my daughter did. It was a profound discovery and realization of the legacy not only within the School of Pharmacy, but also within my family, back to my mother, who was an elementary school teacher.

For all of our graduates, there have been many helping hands, hopeful hearts, and focused eyes, which have helped to guide them throughout their education. While we are proud of each and every one of our graduates, we should also acknowledge the significant contributions of their previous teachers, youth group leaders, mentors, family members, and others who believed in them. Congratulations one and all.

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