Students in the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy Win Big at the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association Annual Conference
Wilkes University student pharmacists are doing more than preparing for their professional path — they’re bringing home awards too. At the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association Annual Conference on Sept. 23, the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy earned two student awards, the Student Public Relations and Awareness Award and the Achieving Independence Competition. The conference was held at Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, Pocono Manor.
Three student pharmacists won the Achieving Independence Competition including Dylan Fox, Aaron Knopp and Alex Ponce. Their faculty advisor was Julie Olenak, assistant dean and associate professor in the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy, and their independent coach was Wilkes alumna Stephanie Smith Cooney who earned her doctor of pharmacy degree in 2004. The team was honored with a $1,000 cash prize for their student organization.
The competition is designed to encourage entrepreneurial pharmacy students to one day own their own pharmacy. Students create a business plan based on either starting a new pharmacy in Pennsylvania or purchasing an existing pharmacy. The business plan is then developed into a poster and the students deliver an oral, ten-minute presentation followed by up to five minutes of questioning by the judges.
Following the delivery of all presentations, the five-judge panel critiques the presentations and assigns point values in areas such as innovative concepts and creativity, feasibility, and format to determine a winner.
Wilkes students competed against teams from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Pharmacy, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and University of Pittsburgh.
Achieving Independence Competition Wilkes team, pictured from left to right: Dylan Fox, Alex Ponce, and Aaron Knopp.
The Nesbitt School of Pharmacy was also awarded the Student Public Relations and Awareness Award. The student group received a commemorative plaque and a $200 cash prize for their organization.
The Student Public Relations and Awareness Award recognizes the school that scheduled and hosted various public awareness and community activities promoting the role of the pharmacist, particularly focusing on participation in the Generation Rx and Katy’s Kids programs. Generation Rx events focus on the current opioid and substance abuse issues faced in the region. Katy’s Kids works to inform children on the importance of medication while highlighting safety. Points were awarded based on communications activities with the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association through a variety of communications materials, social media posts, and media outreach.
Wilkes students held multiple events promoting Katy’s Kids and Generation Rx. The students also maintained an active social media presence, creating their own hashtag to use on Facebook while also organizing a mannequin challenge.
The Student Public Relations and Awareness Award Wilkes team. Front row, left to right: Alexandra Grudeski, Kayla Bardzel, Rachel Wood. Back row: Cody Morcom, Dylan Fox, Nikko Bonavoglia.
Founded in 1878, the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association is a professional membership organization of more than 2,300 pharmacists and pharmacy students across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, representing almost all facets of pharmacy practice. As the leading voice of pharmacy in Pennsylvania, it promotes the profession through advocacy, education, and communication to enhance patient care and public health.