Student Life in the MCW School of Pharmacy
Learn About One Student's Groundbreaking Time in MCW's PharmD Program
The Pharmacy Student Alliance (PSA) – MCW’s student government and programming board for pharmacy students – serves as the umbrella organization for student chapters of national organizations. The following recognized student organizations serve as the cornerstone for student professional development and engagement.
- American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP): A professional and scientific society that provides leadership, education, advocacy, and resources enabling clinical pharmacists to achieve excellence in practice, research, and education. In addition to its annual meeting, AACP hosts annual clinical research and clinical pharmacy challenges for students.
- American Pharmacists Association – Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP): The largest association of pharmacists in the United States and the only organization advancing the entire pharmacy profession. APhA helps pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians. In addition to its annual meeting and regional meetings, APhA-ASP hosts an annual patient counseling competition for students.
- American Society of Health-System Pharmacists – Student Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP-SSHP): Represents pharmacists by advocating and supporting the professional practice of pharmacists in hospitals, health systems, ambulatory care clinics, and other settings spanning the full spectrum of medication use. ASHP hosts the annual Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition, which includes the Residency Showcase. Additionally, ASHP hosts an annual clinical skills competition for students.
- Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin (PSW): Wisconsin’s single advocating organization for all pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and student pharmacists. In addition to its annual meeting, PSW hosts an annual educational conference and the annual Legislative Day at the state capitol.
Student pharmacists have the opportunity to engage in chapter meetings and activities and attend national conferences.
In addition to the recognized student organizations listed above, students form interest groups to explore additional areas of interest.
- Legislative Action in Wisconsin (LAW) Committee
- Student Writing Club
- Student Women’s Advocacy Group (SWAG)
MCW’s Student Engagement Task (SET) Force provides numerous social and networking activities for students across academic programs and campuses. Activities include the following:
- Variety Fest
- Trivia events
- Exercise classes
- Athletic events
- Pumpkin carving
- Paint nights
- Urban Ecology Center activities
The Pharmacy Student Alliance (PSA) serves as the student government and programming body for the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) pharmacy students. Every student pharmacist in good standing is a member of the PSA, which serves as the umbrella organization for MCW’s student chapters of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP), the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), and the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin (PSW).
First-year student pharmacists are encouraged to focus on their studies during their first semester of enrollment (Sessions 1 and 2). Then, in winter (Session 3), the PSA holds elections for the following officer positions, which comprise the PSA Executive Board:
- Vice President
- Community Engagement Director
Those students elected serve in the leadership role during their second year of enrollment in the MCW Pharmacy School.
Following officer elections, the student chapters listed above each host elections for their chapter officers. Additionally, pharmacy student representatives are elected to each of the following School of Pharmacy faculty committees:
- Accreditation Self-Study
- Awards & Citations
- Interprofessional Education
The PSA also elects pharmacy student representatives to the following MCW entities:
- Alumni Committee
- Diversity Committee
- Facilities Committee
- Graduate Student Assembly
- Medical Student Assembly
- Professionalism Committee
- Programming Committee
- Research Committee
- Student Women’s Advocacy Group
- Wellness Committee
Numerous signature student events serve as milestones along students’ journey to degree completion. The following events are organized by the Office of Academic and Student Affairs:
- Orientation: New student pharmacists are welcomed to MCW prior to the first day of classes. Students are oriented to MCW’s faculty, policies, and systems and get to know their classmates. Ongoing orientation occurs as needed throughout Session 1.
- White Coat Ceremony: The presentation of the white coat typically happens prior to the start of students’ first Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPE) and represents passage into the pharmacy profession, with all the associated rights, opportunities, and responsibilities. During the ceremony, students recite the Oath of a Pharmacist, committing their professional careers and practices to excellence in pharmacy.
- Pinning Ceremony: The Pinning Ceremony occurs at the end of Session 8 to celebrate the conclusion of didactic coursework and student’s readiness to begin Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs).
- Hooding Ceremony: The Hooding Ceremony, where graduates formally receive the academic hood representing their profession, is held each year, typically the day before the Commencement Ceremony. All candidates recite the Oath of the Pharmacist.
- Graduation Dinner: The School of Pharmacy celebrates its graduates at the annual Graduation Dinner. At the dinner, honors and awards are announced and bestowed upon graduates.
- Commencement Ceremony: This institutional ceremony celebrates all students who have completed their degree requirements. Graduating students are expected to attend commencement. If distance or other obligations prevent attendance, the dean should be notified in writing at the earliest opportunity.
The MCW School of Pharmacy provides numerous services to students, including the following:
- Peer Mentoring: Each incoming student is assigned a mentor from the class one year ahead of them. Peer mentors provide unique insight into the student experience and serve as a helpful guide to navigating the first year of the PharmD program.
- Faculty Mentoring: Each incoming student is also assigned a mentor from the School of Pharmacy faculty. Faculty mentors touch base with mentees quarterly regarding their overall experience at MCW. They also guide students’ completion of the Personal and Professional Development course and provide overall educational and career guidance.
- Recorded class lectures and presentations: Nearly every classroom session is recorded so that students have the ability to re-watch lectures as needed – and at two times the speed!
- Academic intervention: We employ an early intervention system to help faculty course directors connect with students who may not be performing at the level of their peers.
- Academic accommodations: We certainly provide testing and other academic accommodations for students with documented disabilities or other learning needs.
As an institution of higher learning, MCW provides the following student services:
- Academic consultation
- Peer tutoring
- Mental health and wellbeing
- Career services
- Food center
- Student inclusion
MCW has also made the most of its facilities to provide a great experience for students, including:
- Individual student lockers
- Private study rooms (individual and group)
- Student Lounge
- Tonkens Athletic Center
- MEB Cafeteria
- Hub Café
News and Stories About MCW's Pharmacy StudentsSee All
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George E. MacKinnon III, PhD, MS, RPh, founding dean of the MCW School of Pharmacy, was installed as chair-elect of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy’s (AACP) Council of Deans (COD) at the AACP annual meeting held in Aurora, Colorado from July 21–25.
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HSPAL Residency Leads Inaugural Class Graduates to Specialty Pharmacy Manager, FDA Investigator Roles
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After completing the Health-System Pharmacy Administration Leadership Residency, two graduates of the MCW Pharmacy School's inaugural Class of 2020 are leading at the health system and federal level.
MCW School of Pharmacy Recognizes 2023 Preceptors of the Year
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MCW School of Pharmacy Celebrates Class of 2023 PharmD Recipients
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On May 18, the MCW School of Pharmacy celebrated 37 students graduating with their Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the Class of 2023.
Research & Scholarship Forum Invites Conversation About the Evolving Role of Pharmacists
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Attendees of the MCW School of Pharmacy’s 2023 Research & Scholarship Forum had the opportunity to talk with more than 50 poster presenters about their discoveries. The event highlighted innovative research projects by pharmacy students and residents.
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The Initiative raises awareness about issues including trauma and social determinants of health.
MCW Student Wins National Excellence in Public Health Pharmacy Award
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Student Pursues Unique Fellowship Path to Career in Pharmaceutical Industry
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After he earns his PharmD degree in May 2023, Kong Choua Thao is pursuing a unique career pathway in pharmaceutical industry. He was selected for a drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics (DMPK) fellowship with pharmaceutical company Sanofi.
Jump-Starting a Pharmacy Career
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The MCW Pharmacy School offers a groundbreaking dual-degree program with undergraduate schools from across the state of Wisconsin.
MCW Medical and Pharmacy Students Collaborate to Care for Uninsured Patients in Milwaukee
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