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AACP Walmart Scholars Program Gives Pharm.D. Candidate Insight into Pharmacy Education Careers

Although she began swimming competitively at age 7, it wasn't until she became a swimming coach nine years later that UH College of Pharmacy Pharm.D. student Marissa Blumenthal discovered her passion for teaching and mentoring.

Building on her experiences helping others achieve their best times in the pool, Blumenthal has transitioned her talents as a mentor and motivator into helping fellow students realize their potential in the classroom, in the community and in their profession. 

"One of the most gratifying things I have gotten out of coaching is seeing a swimmer’s face light up when he or she has achieved something they never thought was possible," Blumenthal said.

blumenthal photoHer teaching skills quickly gained notice, with her review sessions drawing as many as 80 students and leading to her recruitment as an official tutor in the college.     

"I realized I enjoyed the challenge of taking on some of the most demanding material in classes, and delivering it in a way that connects concepts to a bigger picture in order to understand the impact of what we are learning," she said. "To me, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing someone proud of their achievements and knowing that I have helped them along their journey of self-discovery as a professional."

In recognition of her dedication to mentorship and teaching, Blumenthal was selected as a national American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Walmart Scholars Program recipient. The program provided financial support for her to attend the 2016 AACP Annual Meeting and Teaching Seminar July 25-27 in Anaheim, Calif.

During the meeting, Blumenthal participated in seminars, workshops and other activities that provided not only insight into the world of pharmacy academia but also leadership and professional development. Blumenthal said she gained a greater appreciation of the hard work and dedication by faculty members.

Although Blumenthal aspires to enter pharmacy academia, her experiences at the meeting reinforced the unique role all pharmacists serve in education. 

"Our job as a pharmacist is to educate patients, nurses, physicians,  pharmacy technicians, and even other pharmacists," Blumenthal said. "Something I did not realize was that even if you do not want to become a professor, but a preceptor, you are still considered to be a teacher and are a very important part of the academic community."