Students, faculty, staff, members of the pharmacy community and special guests gathered at the Health Sciences Centre auditorium on Sept. 12 for the annual School of Pharmacy Scholarships and Awards Ceremony. The event celebrates student achievement and recognizes those individuals, organizations and corporations who extend their support to scholarships and awards. Fifty-six awards were presented this year.
Special guests included the Honourable Susan Sullivan, minister of Health and Community Services, who brought greetings on behalf of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and Dr. Cecilia Reynolds, deputy-provost (students) and associate vice-president (academic) undergraduate studies at Memorial University. In her remarks, Dr. Reynolds spoke about the necessity of an institutional culture of support to enable student achievement and success.
“It takes an entire institution to support our students, and we all play a part in providing that support,” she said. “Memorial’s faculty, staff and students are working together to build an environment that truly supports you, and positions you for achievement and success – academically, professionally and personally.”
The Scholarships and Awards program at the School of Pharmacy has evolved over the years, and although academic standing is still very important, a strong emphasis is also placed on volunteerism and service to the school and community as qualifying factors for recognition. In her welcome message, Dr. Linda Hensman, dean of the School of Pharmacy, talked about the importance of these qualities as a measure of achievement.
“These are the qualities that serve as a guide as we strive to help each other succeed,” she said. “Therefore, it is important that we prioritize those who give of themselves to their fellow students and citizens, and who share their time and talent as leaders at our School and ambassadors for the pharmacy profession.”
This year, Amanda Brett, a student in the class of 2014, was the recipient of three different awards and was also named to the School of Pharmacy’s Dean’s List. Included among those honours were The L.J. Lawton Memorial Award and the Kristine Cadigan Memorial Award. The L.J. Lawton Memorial Award was established by the Canadian Pharmacists Association in memory of Louis J. Lawton, a founder of the Newfoundland Pharmaceutical Association (now the Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board). The recipient of this award is chosen by student and faculty ballot. The Kristine Cadigan Memorial Award is given in memory of Kristine Cadigan, a student who died suddenly in 2005 after having completed one year of the pharmacy program. This award recognizes an individual with the qualities that Kristine exhibited – someone who is a well-rounded, a dedicated and accomplished student who is willing to help out when needed and involved in activities both inside and outside the school. Ms. Brett talked about how it felt to be recognized with these awards.
“It was such an honor to receive these two awards and I’m overwhelmed by the fact that my peers and professors see such promise in me. It’s such an amazing feeling to be compared to a special person like Kristine, as the qualities she was known for, are the ones I strive to represent. I’m passionate about my profession, and about having the ability to serve as a positive influence in someone’s life, and it is such a blessing to know that others can see that too."
In addition to student recognition, awards were also presented in the categories of preceptor of the year and alumni achievement. Jody Pomeroy, a hospital pharmacist with the Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre in Grand Falls-Windsor and Catherine (Kit) Greening, a community pharmacist with the Wal-Mart Pharmacy in Grand Falls-Windsor, both received recognition for their work as preceptors during the structured practice experience that students complete during the pharmacy program. In that same category, Ms. Heather Ryan and Ms. Angie Payne also received honorable mentions for their respective efforts as preceptors in hospital settings.
Ms. Jessica Burry, a member of the class of 2006, was the recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award. Currently with UNICEF in Copenhagen, Denmark, she works closely with the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children. In this role, she supports their mandate to improve access to quality medications for women and children in a number of developing countries. This past spring Ms. Burry concluded a mission with Médecins Sans Frontières in Swaziland. There she managed a pharmacy field team and collaborated with NGO’s and the national Ministry of Health to advance policy and advocate for improved access to appropriate medications and medical supplies in that southern African nation.