'Upward Bound' Students Visit UK College of Pharmacy


Jul 25, 2013

About 40 Franklin County high school students recently visited the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy, to get some hands-on exposure to the world of applied science.

The visit was part of Kentucky State University's Upward Bound program, a federally funded initiative designed to awaken high school students to the opportunities, and prepare them for the challenges, presented by higher education. The program, intended for first-generation college-bound students and those from lower-income families, includes rigorous academic coaching and an exploratory summer component.

At UK, the visitors took part in a variety of activities led by current UK College of Pharmacy students.

There was a "scavenger hunt" in mock patient assessment rooms, where the high-schoolers became familiar with tasks of a clinical pharmacist. Another challenge tasked their math skills to review and assess a prescription. This was followed by a competition to see who could fill the prescription fastest, using small candies instead of pills. In a practice lab, the students learned how to mix a special gel which can be used to deliver medication. Finally, there was a "garb race" in the mock sterile hospital lab, where students had to work quickly and accurately to put on sterile attire in the appropriate order.

"I really enjoyed the variety of different activities," said Alyssa Weaver, who will begin her freshman year at Franklin County this fall. "It's good to be aware of all the different possibilities."

Stephanie Wurth, the college's director of admissions and student diversity, says that's what the Upward Bound visit is all about.

"These hands-on activities allow students to see and experience the breadth of opportunities available within the profession and hopefully excite them about science and math," Wurth said. "As a bonus, our pharmacy students and faculty enjoy teaching these prospective future health care providers about their profession and the paths they took to each reach their goals."

Timothy S. Tracy, dean of the college, said the collaboration with Upward Bound was one way in which the college fulfilled its role in stimulating students from a variety of backgrounds to be interested in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"We know the best way to get young people interested in math and science is through hands-on learning," he said. "We hope that by showcasing how pharmacy can be fun, exciting and inventive, these students will continue to take the challenging math, science, and technology courses throughout high school to better prepare themselves for a rigorous college curriculum.

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