College of Pharmacy Class of 2023 Receives Pins, Transitions to Patient Care

By Benjamin Waldrum

After two years of virtual festivities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students masked up and gathered in person at locations in Little Rock and Fayetteville for the joint ceremony.

Claudia Raffo

Third-year student Claudia Raffo receives her pin. Flanking her are John Vinson, Pharm.D. and Cindy Stowe, PharmD.Evan Lewis

“Today marks our third-year students’ transition from an intensive, didactic curriculum to an experiential curriculum,” said College of Pharmacy Dean Cindy Stowe, Pharm.D. “This is one of the most critical transitions they will experience in the professional program. I am so proud of our Class of 2023 as they take on the challenging but rewarding task of caring for patients.”

As upcoming fourth-year students, the Class of 2023 will receive hands-on experience and begin advanced practice rotations to participate in various types of patient care while applying the skills and knowledge they’ve gained during their three years of didactic coursework.

“We are incredibly proud to celebrate this significant milestone in the academic career of our Class of 2023 students, as they transition from didactic to direct patient care phase of the curriculum,” said Ashok Philip, Ph.D., associate dean for student services.

Ashlyn Curry, a fourth-year pharmacy student, served as emcee and read out the names of each student as they came up to the podium to receive their pin. Students posed for pictures and placed their pins on their white coats, or they were pinned by faculty or fellow classmates.

Ashok Philip

Ashok Philip, Ph.D., speaks to students at the ceremony. Behind him is a video feed of third-year students in Northwest Arkansas.Evan Lewis

“Congratulations on making it this far in your journey,” said Cate Halloran, Pharm.D., the keynote speaker for the ceremony. Halloran, a College of Pharmacy Class of 2021 graduate, is a pharmacist at Community Pharmacy in Springdale. “I know at times it may have felt like this day may never come, and this is something that you should all be truly proud of.”

Halloran said a pharmacy student’s fourth year can be their most challenging.

“Your fourth year is a time for you not only to decide what kind of pharmacist you want to become, but where you’ll end up in your practice sites,” Halloran said. “I encourage all of you to keep an open mind, and remember that a variety of rotation experiences will help you become a well-rounded pharmacist.”

Halloran’s fourth-year experiences included acute care, infectious disease, anticoagulation, compounding, nutrition, wound care and experiences in intensive care units and emergency departments. By working at many locations in different areas across the state and having many different experiences, it made her fourth year much more enriching.

“Fourth year is a time to grow more than you ever have,” Halloran said. “Now is your time to learn what you don’t know.”

The return to an in-person ceremony raised the spirits of those in attendance and underscored the themes of community and togetherness, alongside individual growth.

“I thought this year’s ceremony was special for several reasons, especially being together again and connecting our Little Rock and Northwest Arkansas students in a single ceremony,” said David Caldwell, Pharm.D., associate dean for academic affairs. “Dr. Halloran did a great job of encouraging the P3s to rise to the challenges of their P4 year.”

The Arkansas Pharmacists Association sponsored this year’s ceremony. The association’s CEO, John Vinson, Pharm.D., is a College of Pharmacy alumnus and attended the ceremony to welcome and congratulate the students.

College of Pharmacy Class of 2023

Elma Abdullah

Colton Andrews

Laura Beaudreau

Tony Blagg

Jamie Bourland

Emily Campbell

Riley Caraway

Grant Cathey

Minh Chu

Taylor Connor

Danielle Cook

Lindsey Cooper

Tanner Cooper

Brendon Coughran

Darren Crymes

Caleigh Currington

Kaitlin Davis

Alex Day

Taylor Deen

Vidya Desai

Justin Dino

Sarah Dobbs

Kennedy Dodson

Abigail Dunn

Bethany Dunn

Samuel Eddington

Preston Eubanks

Kellyn Foster

Michael Frederick

Krupali Gandhi

Marissa Gates

Bailey Gossett

Elizabeth Harmon

Jayden Hart

Michelle Hernandez

Davonte Hokes

Hannah Howard

Hannah Hunt

Kiran Kaur

Nicole Kile

McKenzie Koch

Michelle Le

Stephanie Mahaffey

Madeline Malloy

Holley Maness

Derek Mauldin

Charles McCormick

Malynn McKay

Gale Menotti

Brendan Midkiff

Marco Morris

Abigail Parker

Evan Parks

Siddhi Patel

Michael Pham

Claudia Raffo

Caleb Reinhart

Justice Rice

Darrin Roland

Mike Sasca

Mattie Schanandore

Erica Smith

Victor Tanthaphengxay

Morgan Tracy

Angel Vu

Anh Vu

Brias Watson

Jasiha Welch

Mark White

Nathan Wilson

Jake Wingfield

Lindsey Worthington