Pipeline program: Summer Academic Enrichment Program (2012)
Year in school: Second year pharmacy student in the VCU School of Pharmacy
High school/hometown: Cosby High School, Midlothian, Va.
Interview: Summer 2014
Erin Hickey had early exposure to health careers from working in a community pharmacy during high school. Through working as a pharmacy technician in a hospital setting during her undergraduate career, and exposure to pharmacology material during SAEP, she realized what a great decision she had made.
“I loved interacting with patients and learning about medications, and it became clear that pharmacy was the right profession for me,” Hickey said.
Erin’s advice to pre-professional health students is to take advantage of opportunities in front of them. One of those opportunities is the VCU Summer Academic Enrichment Program, where participants learn not only about health professions, but about themselves as a students and future health professionals.
“VCU SAEP’s inclusion of four different health professions (Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, and Physical Therapy) was unique to any other program that I had researched,” Hickey said. “Because of that I was immediately interested and knew I had to apply. It is very rare to be exposed to different health professions in such a direct way before professional school.”
During SAEP, the participants were introduced to the concept of inter-professional healthcare teams, and were able to put this teamwork to practice by learning from each other while studying for professional level classes, participating in workshops, and volunteering in the community.
“Being around students from different backgrounds with unique but complementary interests was the best part of SAEP,” remembered Hickey.
Currently, as a rising second year pharmacy student, Erin would like to pursue a hospital pharmacy residency to eventually specialize as a clinical pharmacist. While Cardiology and Infectious Disease interest her the most, Erin’s still learning about the many opportunities in pharmacy, and is not ruling out any avenue. Erin is also considering a career in academia, after enjoying her experience teaching as a Pharmacy Discipline Specific Teaching Assistant for SAEP in 2014.