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  • pls chapter members and advisors displaying Cougar sign

    Phi Lambda Sigma Upsilon Chapter faculty advisors Divya Varkey and Elizabeth Coyle flash the Cougar hand sign with student members of the chapter.

  • pls upsilon 2020-21 officers

    PLS Upsilon 2020-21 officers were, from left, Jason Levy, Greissy Jerezano, Sue’ad Elchehimi, Steven Smith and Julie Nguyen.

  • photo of pls faculty advisors and officers

    UHCOP faculty advisors and 2020-21 officers held a "drive-through" induction for new members in spring 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic safety protocols.

May 9 — The University of Houston College of Pharmacy's Upsilon Chapter of the Phi Lambda Sigma (PLS) Pharmacy Leadership Society secured its third national Chapter of the Year Award in the past seven years during the PLS Virtual Awards ceremony April 23.

In addition to being honored with the award, the chapter’s own Lamees Loubani presided over the PLS House of Delegates as 2021-22 Speaker of the House.

The chapter award recognized Upsilon’s wide-ranging leadership, professional development and outreach activities during the 2020-21 year, which was even more impressive in scope and particpation while observing social distancing and other safety protocols amid the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Upsilon held several online workshops on topics such as candidacy preparation, elevator pitches and mentorship, and public speaking to "leading from behind," resilience and grit, and emotional intelligence. Using virtual platforms, the chapter also hosted sessions for mock interviews, CV reviews, and meet-and-greet socializing.

With a mission to assist in the development of leaders across the profession, the Upsilon chapter also hosted its annual President's Retreat in which chapter presidents of all UHCOP student organizations are invited to strengthen their knowledge and soft skills in such areas as organization and delegation, teamwork and flexibility, stress and schoolwork, setting deadlines and meeting them, and trust communication and compassion.

The chapter also held clothing/essential item and monetary donation drives for local nonprofit organizations working with the homeless and LGBTQ+ communities as well as victims of human trafficking and the massive explosion/fire in Lebanon, Beirut, on Aug. 4, 2020.

In a fitting tribute to its late namesake, the chapter's James T. McCarty Leadership Lecture assembled five UHCOP alumni and leaders in the pharmacy profession to reflect on the influence McCarty made in their professional and personal development. Sharing rememberances and lessons from McCarty, who had passed in May 2020, were Janis Parsley, R.Ph. ('82), MBA, current UH Chief Development Officer; Carolyn Hilscher ('85), Owned Shiner Family Pharmacy); Julie Spier ('86), director of pharmacy operations-Southern Division for Randalls/Tom Thumb/Albertsons and president of the Texas State Board of Pharmacy; Debbie Veselka ('94), pharmacy practice coordinator at Kroger Pharmacy's Houston Division; and Lynn Simpson, Pharm.D. ('96), former UHCOP faculty member.

The chapter previously won the chapter of the year title in 2019 and 2015.