The Genesis Board of the UI College of Pharmacy has been gaining momentum over the past few years, and its initiatives are starting to take off.
Dean Donald Letendre established the board to enhance College of Pharmacy students’ experiences and help them find personal and professional success. Board members are former students who have graduated from the college within the last 15 years.
"We are really looking for ways that we can add valuable experiences that go above and beyond the existing curriculum and to complement things already happening at the college," said Kelly Brock, the group’s leader.
For the last few years, Genesis Board members have taken part in the college’s P1 Forum where first-year students rotate through roundtables. They get a quick overview of individual members’ career paths and have an opportunity to ask questions.
The forum is part of students’ welcome and orientation to the PharmD program—called Engagement—which takes place the week before classes start. “So many students come in with tunnel vision, thinking they need to be either a hospital or a community pharmacist. Our goal is that they learn there are a variety of experiences and opportunities that await them,” said Brock.
In fall of 2018—for the first time during Engagement Week—board members also coated PharmD students at the White Coat Ceremony and held a networking reception. The students had just learned about speed networking. “The reception gave them an opportunity to practice those skills, and to meet some of our young alumni who are board members,” Brock said. “It was an amazing experience. They were super engaged. It wasn’t a required event, but we probably had 60 to 100 of them show up on a Friday afternoon at 3:30."
Some initiatives that were slated to take off this school year are:
- Networking huddles: Board members coach students in networking and give them a shot of confidence before gatherings at events with key players in the pharmacy world.
- Visits to student groups including an appearance by board members at a meeting of the Toastmasters/Pharmacy Communicators Association.
- An etiquette dinner.
- Programming at the Zada Cooper Leadership Symposium that will include professional development opportunities.
- Programming for students focusing on the importance of personal health and well-being, and ways to avoid burnout.
- A track that will inspire students to consider exploring entrepreneurship in healthcare.
- Specific programming and activities for graduate students.