KATHRYN SNYDER ’16 is a northeast Indiana native who has worked as a pharmacy
technician in both the retail and hospital settings. She has high expectations.
Hong Dao ’16 comes from a family of pharmacists and knows her way around the retail
side of the profession. She thrives on multi-tasking.
Jacob D. Clendenen ’16 is older than most MU students, with nearly 15 years in
community pharmacy and a family of his own. His sights are on pharmacy management
that nurtures patient care.
Andrea Hopper ’16 is a product of Manchester’s pre-pharmacy undergraduate program.
Her Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree in four years will set her on track for more
study, residencies and research.
Manchester’s first 64 pharmacy students comprise the
most-diverse class in its history. Many – as state and
area economic development leaders hoped for – are
Hoosiers. Yet 16 other states across the nation also
are home to these students.
- 44 percent are Asian, African-American,
Latino or Pacific Islander
- 20 to 41 is their age range, averaging a mature
(or swiftly maturing) 25
- 56 percent are women
- 71 percent have degrees already (two have
- 7 are former Manchester University students
“As the first pharmacy class at Manchester, you will
set the bar,” Indiana Sen. Ron Grooms, a registered
pharmacist and former drugstore owner, challenged
MU’s first pharmacy students at an August ceremony
that set them on their four-year path to a Doctor of
Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree.
“The pharmacy profession is watching,” Sen. Grooms
said. “Employers, graduate schools and residency
programs will compare the first Manchester graduates
to graduates from Butler, Purdue and other colleges of
pharmacy across the country.”
Jacob Clendenen faces the challenge with the
confidence of experience in the field. He is a pharmacy
tech trainer for CVS. “I am looking forward to being
and setting an example for future classes in the role of
pharmacy,” says the Fort Wayne resident, who with
his wife is raising a 6½-year-old and a 5-year-old.
Right now, the students spend most of their school
day in the classroom or lab on the new Fort Wayne
campus – learning the basics, getting comfortable
with their faculty mentors and study teams, and
learning how to study at the graduate level.
They are intense, very intense.
“I spend all my free time studying. It has taken over
my life,” says Class President Kathryn Snyder. But
don’t think for a minute that she is complaining.
“Everything I learn is relevant to patient care. To be a
competent pharmacist, it’s important to learn and
retain as much information as I can.”
Classes in pharmaceutics, communications in
pharmacy practice, biomedical sciences, drug
information and labs fill this semester. Later
curriculums cover patient safety, gastrointestinal care,
nutrition and much more.
Gradually, their lessons will become more personal,
with interactions and experiences with patients.
“Experientials” is what pharmacy students and
faculty call these very structured internships under
the guidance of scores and scores of area pharmacy
They’ll begin in the community pharmacy setting this
winter, but throughout their MU careers, they’ll also
have opportunities in managed care, marketing,
distribution, research, poison control and toxicology, organizations, government agencies, home infusion,
administration, radiopharmaceuticals, and, of course,
“Our graduates are going to have real-life
experiences,” says Tracy Brooks, assistant professor
of pharmacy practice whose expertise (and clinical
practice) is in hospice and palliative care. “They will
be learning how to talk with patients, how to interact
That’s important in this new age of pharmacy. In
“real life,” Brooks, for example, uses her
pharmaceutical expertise to manage the challenging
symptoms of end-of-life: the nausea, the depression,
the insomnia, the pain, the anorexia, the anxiety.
Her day begins with 7 a.m. rounds at Parkview
Regional Medical Center, visible from the College of
Pharmacy. She serves on palliative care teams that set
goals for care. She has conversations with patients
and their families about “where do we go from
here,” and assists them with their decisions.
Then, she’s on the MU campus, teaching cultural
communication, non-verbal communication, and that
“you can make a difference not only in how people
live, but in how they die. Here’s how.”
“We are learning in a format that has patient care at
the center,” says Snyder, who has retail and hospital
pharmacy technician experience and is “leaning
toward” intensive care practice. “We are learning
now information that would be reserved for the
second or third years in other (Pharm.D.) programs.
We are building our skills from the beginning.”
“I am most excited for next year, when we will be in a
hospital setting. That is where I probably will end up
after pharmacy school,” says Hopper, but she’s
keeping an open mind. She likes the process: “I think
it helps expose me to other atmospheres that a
pharmacist can be a part of, and who knows, maybe I
will just fall in love with something else!”
While students are adapting to the intensity and rigor
of professional doctoral-level study, their teachers are
facing daunting challenges, too: a new generation of
technically advanced – and demanding – students.
And, much smaller classrooms and lecture halls than
these faculty members studied in at their alma maters.
Manchester’s pharmacy program is designed for an
optimum class of 70 students, with its largest lecture
hall totaling 140 seats. “At Purdue, we had 700
students in our pre-pharmacy class,” recalls Brooks.
“This building has already proven to be an
exceptional working and learning environment,” says
Whitney Caudill, associate dean for administration
and finance who also teaches pharmacy law and
ethics. “The building design gives our students
classrooms designed specifically for integrated and
collaborative learning, study and working together
on projects in teams.”
Dao is a big fan of MU’s pharmacy technology on
the Fort Wayne campus. “It is the most efficient way
to learn,” she says. “We submit our papers online
and take our exams on our laptops.” And really
great: “We get to find out how we did on an exam
“These students are different from many
undergraduate students,” says Greg Hetrick ’05,
director of student services. “Most are extremely
driven. They have lots of deadlines, assessments. We
have a lot of leaders. They have lots of opportunities
to get involved.”
Dao is a great example. “The majority of the time,
what I’m doing is pharmacy study, eat, sleep and
repeat. On the other hand, the weekend is when I get
to practice my pharmacy skills. The weekend is
when I go to work at a retail pharmacy.”
She’s also a leader. Every Friday, she sends out
“weekly academic updates,” reminding her
classmates of what assignments are due when.
MU Pharmacy faculty members are just as intense as
their students about their expectations and
intentions. They are focused on making sure their
- tested and proven in pharmacy practice
- exhibiting strong values and ethics
- envisioning opportunities in the pharmacy
- prepared to assess and improve pharmacy
- passionate about helping people be healthier
- ready to deal with diversities
- committed to service
While the current students, faculty and staff are
settling in, recruiting is well under way to build the
next class of Pharm.D. students, says Hetrick. The
task is dramatically different for the next class, as are
the applicants. “For the current class, we were
recruiting without students, without a building,
With a new $20 million building designed for
pharmacy study, a full class of students (many are
recruiting ambassadors) and classes in session,
applicants don’t need to imagine an MU College of
Pharmacy like the Class of 2016 did.
All is changed, and it shows. “We’re ahead of pace
on applications,” says Hetrick. Faculty members are
evaluating the applications, with the first interview
evaluations to begin this month. “We are confident
we will fill our next class of 70 students,” says
Hetrick, who cut his enrollment incisors recruiting
students for the Manchester undergraduate program.
Qualified Manchester pre-pharmacy students get a
guaranteed interview with the College of Pharmacy
enrollment team. While 11 percent of this Pharm.D.
class is from MU, that percentage may increase.
Currently, about 75 students are enrolled in or have
indicated plans to enroll in pre-pharmacy
undergraduate study at Manchester’s North
Manchester campus, says Registrar Lila VanLue ’79 Hammer.
While MU’s program receives considerable attention
in northeast Indiana health care circles and media,
faculty members are making new friends and
This fall, the College of Pharmacy hosted a diabetes
and blood pressure awareness “brown bag,” one of
several health care events for the local community,
supported by a grant from the Edward D. and Ione
Auer Foundation, says Ahmed Abdelmageed, associate
director of experiential education. “We conducted our
first event at the Universal Education Foundation, a
local nonprofit organization that caters to a variety of ethnic backgrounds that practice the Islamic faith.”
Seven students participated, mentored by pharmacy
practice faculty Dustin Linn, who also is on the critical
care team of Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, and
Tom Smith, a psychiatric pharmacist on the Parkview
Behavioral Health team.
Pharmacy faculty members also are serving on
community teams. Özlem Ersin and Tracy Brooks, for
example, co-chair an Allen County Health
Department subcommittee focused on helping to curb
prescription drug abuse in the county.
Many are “on call” as media sources about pharmacy
– from helping TV viewers understand the significance
of recent Opana narcotics robberies to appearances on
a popular NPR affiliate about health issues.
“Our science and clinical faculty are doing research
with faculty at other institutions in the region and
with clinical practitioners at regional hospitals and
medical groups,” says Dave McFadden ’82, executive
vice president and dean of the College of Pharmacy.
“We are connecting with programs and care providers
that serve needy populations.”
Manchester’s Drug Information Center fields inquiries from area
health care providers, particularly those who will provide
experiential rotations, says Rob Beckett, drug information specialist
and clinical assistant professor of pharmacy. The queries are right
up his alley: A local chain retailer wants to know the effects of
different dosages of the same kind of medication and hospitals are
asking the Center to review patient medications.
While students use the Center now for their own studies and
fledgling research, in time they will partner in the drug research
with Beckett or another faculty member.
“I wanted to be part of the first class,” says Snyder. “It gave me a
chance to build more personal relationships with staff and faculty.
There are more resources available when only 64 students are in a
building. It also gives me a chance to have an input in my
education, because we are constantly evaluating our program and
we get to see the change we ask for. It’s not a program that is set in
its ways. It will adapt to meet the needs of students,” she says.
“Plus, because this is a new program, everyone has high
expectations. I rise to the occasion when expectations are higher.”
Read all about it: MU pharmacy research
“I JUST WANTED TO SHARE the good news with you,
that I had the research from my graduate work
recently accepted for publication …”
It’s a common thread in e-mails at the College of
Pharmacy: this one from Mary Kiersma, director of
assessment. Her peer-reviewed article, “A Graduate
Student Mentoring Program to Develop Interest in
Research,” recently was published in American
Journal of Pharmaceutical Education.
The journal Neurotoxicology plans to publish a
research article of Swati Betharia, assistant professor
of pharmaceutical sciences. She wrote to her MU
colleagues: “I’d like to thank you for your
encouragement and support to all our research
faculty. Hopefully, in the near future we will be able
to produce many more publications based directly
on research here ...”
That’s the plan, and why Manchester designed great
research facilities into its pharmacy campus.
“We have ample and significant laboratory space to
conduct basic and applied biomedical science
MU toxicology specialist Sidhartha Ray, who has 28
years of academic experience and national awards in
pharmacy research and teaching.
Ahmed Abdelmageed, associate director of
experiential education, created a webinar, “Islam and
Caring for the Muslim Patient,” for the American
Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.
The August issue of Pharmacotherapy contains
research by Trent Towne, associate professor of
pharmacy practice (infectious deseases).
Rob Beckett, who manages the MU Drug Information
Center, co-authored research calling for pharmacist
oversight in managing inpatient medications. The
article appeared in The Annals of Pharmacotherapy.
The Drug Information Center fields research requests
about patient medication and drugs from northeast
Indiana health care practices. Its primary users are
MU College of Pharmacy faculty and students.