Allison Adlich hasn’t decided what direction she would like her career path to take. So, for one day in June, the Warrensburg High School junior was at the UMKC School of Pharmacy learning all she could about the opportunities as a pharmacist.
The Summer Pharmacy Camp provides a unique opportunity to learn about the field of pharmacy and the opportunities UMKC has to offer through hands-on activities, panel discussions with pharmacists and interactions with current Pharm.D. students and faculty.
Each June for the past four years, UMKC has offered the day-long camp at each of its three campuses in Kansas City, Columbia and Springfield.
Adlich was attending the camp on the Kansas City campus. She knew of UMKC’s pharmacy school from her brother, who is currently a student at the school. Beyond that, however, she admitted she knew little about the profession.
“I know you can make a career as a pharmacist, but I didn’t know all the different paths you can take in pharmacy,” she said. “I thought you just go to school, then go to work at Walgreens. But I’ve learned you can work in a lot of different areas as a pharmacist.”
That was a common realization for many of the campers.
Amanda Hoelting, camp coordinator and a student recruitment specialist, explained that introducing prospective students to the many careers available to pharmacists is a large part of the camp’s mission.
“Being able to reach so many students is a great opportunity for us,” she said. “Our goal is to show prospective students the many options available in pharmacy and help them narrow those down. The camp is also good for students who have an interest in health care but aren’t sure what they want to do.”
Campers took part in activities from making their own bottles of anti-itch cream in the school’s compounding lab to participating in group case studies and drug identification games. Hoelting said the setting is designed to give the students a taste of what a day is like for an actual pharmacy student.
The camp is open to anyone who has completed the ninth grade. Nearly 100 prospective students attended the three camps, including about 50 at the Kansas City camp. Most of those were high school and college students from Missouri. The Kansas City camp also included one older camper, a working professional who was interested going back to school to become a pharmacist.
“We’re here to help students figure out if this is something they want to do,” Hoelting said. “We want to help them start thinking about that and be as well prepared as possible to make a good decision and be successful.”
Braden Kolaski will be entering his senior year at Oakville High School near St. Louis in the fall. Interested in a career in health care, he’s exploring his options.
“I’ve been studying biomedicine in high school, chemistry and human physiology,” Kolaski said. “I’m trying to figure out what I want to do after high school. Right now, I don’t have a clue so I’m taking classes and doing this camp to get an introduction into things I might like. This has broadened my thinking about pharmacy. Many people think they have a grasp of what pharmacy is, but there’s more to it than meets the eye.”
Lauren Madison will be a senior in the international baccalaureate program at Wichita (Kansas) East High School. She, too, discovered there are many different career paths pharmacists can take as she listened to panel discussions with alumni who work a variety of pharmacy settings.
“I learned about the different sides of pharmacy, including the business side,” she said. “That’s something that I’d love to learn more about.”