Public bragging, circa 25 April 2018

Published to my Facebook wall, in a rare return to public posting there, so I can tag people and brag on students publicly through that medium. 

So, let me interrupt this Facebook not-as-much-of-a-hiatus-anymore to do this bit of bragging.

Once upon a time, at an institution far, far away, Craig Allee told me I was going to advise pre-pharms, and of course having a role in advising was a good thing to have for the promotion-and-tenure thing and you want to do right by your dean and so I wasn’t going to tell him “no”. (Telling Doc Allee “no” wasn’t something done lightly in any event, for Reasons.)

And as I dove in to the task, I found out that doing that sort of thing was one whale of an education in its own right. I recognized very quickly that it was one thing to have students check off courses of prerequisite curriculum, and it was another thing entirely to actually recognize where that student might want to attend pharmacy school and actually make sure what the student was preparing matched up with where the student might want to go. And then I found out how much of a thing clinical pharmacy was, and how much different preparing to do that was than preparing to be in a retail environment. And I found myself getting deeper and deeper into conversations with students and seeing the contours of what these students wanted to accomplish.

I found myself saying the phrase “professional vision” a lot. I found myself calling upon my grandfather’s own professional identity – reemphasizing to my students and myself that the prescription for apathy is involvement – and asking my students what they aimed to accomplish as practicing professionals.

We got students into pharmacy school. Hooray. And I’ve continued to have a role in that task as I’ve gone forward in my career, and hopped from one place to the next. But I hope we’re doing more than that. I hope what we’re doing, as students and faculty working together, is helping realize the full potential for the student as emerging professional, and how the professional working in their role can serve the community around them.

So here’s an announcement. It’s recipients of awards in the United States Public Health Service Excellence in Public Health Pharmacy program.

There are 27 of them nationwide.

I’ve advised two of them.

I advised Lindsey Bruner when she was at Shorter University. She is finishing her PharmD at Mercer University’s College of Pharmacy. She is cited for “developing partnerships with community organizations to prevent substance abuse and for raising awareness of substance use by educating children and parents about the proper use and storage of medications.”

I advised Tiffany Vũ when she was at Virginia Intermont College. She is preparing to graduate from Campbell University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Her citation is for “development of a student led community care clinic dedicated to community wellness and public health, and for serving as a team leader during multiple medical mission trips to Honduras.”

I see that list, and I recognize those names, and I’m stunned and stunned again and stunned all over again. It’s incredibly humbling.

There are also MANY other students I’ve advised who do things every bit as great. Their names might not be on citations like this, but I’m every bit as proud of them.

There is also a list of advisees I have here at Tusculum. There are also students who have started pharmacy school from here, and students preparing to start pharmacy school, who I’ve had in classes here.

I recognize talent upon talent upon talent, still identifying that vision that will carry them forward.

I have moments these days when I’m very tired, when the long road that I’ve been down and the failures on the path behind make me feel like I’m reaching the end of the career.

And then I see a list like this, and I still feel like my career is just starting, and there is so much promise ahead.

Lindsey, Tiffany: thank you for your hearts of service, and blessings to you as you move forward on your careers as new professionals.

But thank you also for these little reminders that renew me.

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