APhA Student Leadership Award recipient: Kathryn Albert
Interview with: Kathryn Albert, University of South Florida
1. As you reflect on your student pharmacist experience thus far, what are some of your favorite memories?
When I started my journey as a student pharmacist, I didn’t have a single clue what to expect. I was so naïve about all that the profession had to offer; until I found APhA–ASP. I would be lying if I told you that most of my favorite memories didn’t involve APhA–ASP. Whilst reflecting on this question, I have found that it is very difficult to choose my top memories. Each one lightens up a different area of my heart. But I will say the memories that brought the most joy are those involving attending the Region 3 Midyear Regional Meetings (MRM).
As first-year student pharmacists, my friends and I did everything we could to get involved. We all wanted so badly to find what we identified with most at USF and as a student pharmacist. One day, our APhA–ASP Chapter President at the time, Matthew Noble, approached us during lunch and asked if we were going to attend the Region 3 MRM. We all just sort of stared at each other waiting for the other person to make a decision. Is it worth the money? Would we have fun? So many questions running through our head. But, shortly after, we were all signed up and more excited than ever.
I remember when the travel day finally arrived. The Core 4 (that’s my friend group; Dustin Williams, Trent Abel, Andrew Zeigler, and myself) all packed into Dustin’s mom’s car, “The Mom Mobile,” and started the journey to Charleston, SC. I always say that long car rides bring the most memories amongst friends and this trip did exactly that! To this day, we still make jokes about our journey to MRM 2017. This MRM opened up my passion for APhA–ASP and, at that moment, I vowed to never miss one until graduation.
So, for the next 2 years, my love for Region 3 MRM grew and grew. From MRM 2017 to MRM 2019 in Atlanta, GA, there was not only an expansion in our friend group (now the Fab 5 with the addition of Morgan Turney) but an expansion in the stories and memories I will cherish forever.
2. Pharmacy school is demanding, especially when you add on additional activities. How do you manage all of your responsibilities?
Checklists and digital calendars are definitely my go-to items to stay organized. Each different area of my student pharmacist life has its own specific color; schoolwork is blue, APhA–ASP is pink, work is purple, family time is orange, etc. I try to start off each week by looking at my calendar and making a to-do list in order of when I would like things completed. I find it very satisfying to check completed items off, as well as a feeling of accomplishment. My involvement within my APhA–ASP Chapter always gives me a place to escape and provides a feeling of grace when schoolwork becomes overbearing. I am always happy to add another APhA–ASP event to my calendar because I know it is going to be something fun for that week.
3. What are some of your favorite leadership tools and/or resources?
One of my favorite leadership tools to use is the Myers–Briggs personality test and 16Personalities test. Our APhA–ASP team completes a test every year to learn about the dynamic of the group and to help understand one another. I love getting the opportunity to hear about everyone’s personality traits because, throughout the year, I get to see all of the areas come forward. Not only do I use the personality test to learn about others but, also, for myself. I believe it is important to understand the type of leader/individual you are because it allows you to develop your weaker areas and highlight the stronger ones.
4. What does being a leader mean, and what does being selected for this award mean, to you?
There are many different ways that one can show leadership and/or be a leader, as this trait comes in many different shapes and sizes. For myself, being a leader is someone who can bring a group of people, or person, up from any place when they are down. It is someone who doesn’t just stand on the sidelines and watch the growth of a creation, but stands in the back and helps to hold its foundational walls. A leader understands that not all people see things the same way that they do and always takes the time to look at it from the other person’s angle. I strongly believe that being a leader does not come from a title but from the feelings and emotions the person receives from the things they do.
Being selected for an APhA Student Leadership Award was totally unexpected and led to a lot of happy tears! Never did I think I would be nominated for this award because there are so many other student pharmacists that come to mind when I think of outstanding leadership. But I am appreciative of the recognition from the Academy and those who nominated me. It takes a team of people to do all the amazing things that APhA–ASP does, and I am proud to have been a part of it. I am thankful for the University of South Florida APhA–ASP team, our Chapter Advisor and New Practitioner Mentors, and all the student pharmacists I have met along my pharmacy school journey, because without them, I would not be where I am today.
5. What’s next for you?
Next stop, APPE rotations! I am so excited to start my fourth and final year of pharmacy school. The hands-on experience and education I will be receiving from my preceptors will be remarkable. Not only will I learn a ton about being a pharmacist, but will have the opportunity to find what areas of pharmacy I am most passionate about. As of right now, I have interests in emergency medicine, critical care, and long-term care pharmacy. I hope that APPE rotations will help to slim the list down. Knowing myself, I will finish my final year with an interest list longer than when I started. Regardless, I am ecstatic.