Prescription for excellence

Photo by Mary Knox Merrill

Through engaging co-op experiences and rewarding community service projects, Northeastern student Cheyanne Freeman has found her calling in community pharmacy.

Freeman, a fourth-year student in the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program, worked at a Wal-Mart pharmacy in Somersworth, N.H., in summer 2009. There, she discovered the rewards of compounding —taking drug ingredients from scratch and putting them together to make medicine. But she also found counseling patients about their medications and addressing their questions incredibly fulfilling.

While at Northeastern, Freeman also volunteered at the Boston AIDS Walk last year and the Boston Diabetes Expo in 2009. She said seeing the impact that community outreach and patient education can have at those events solidified her interest in the community pharmacy track.

“I’m really interested in being involved in the community, both now and when I become a pharmacist,” Freeman said.

Earlier this month, Freeman received the Joseph H. Benjamin Scholarship Award at the annual Spring Scholarships and Awards Convocation, sponsored by the School of Pharmacy in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences. Dr. David Benjamin presented the award, founded in the name of his father, a 1931 Northeastern graduate and a community pharmacist. The award is presented to a student for academic achievement, and with an interest in compounding.

More than 40 students received awards at the convocation, which celebrates the school’s outstanding students and alumni. Stephen Zoloth, the college’s dean, hailed the students for their hard work, adding, “You shape us through your achievements, and we celebrate all of your accomplishments.”

Another student honored at the event was Colleen McQuinn, who received the Constantine and Mary Meriano Scholarship Award.  The award was presented by Dr. John Merianos, nephew of Constantine Meriano — the founder and first dean of what came to be the School of Pharmacy.

McQuinn said her co-op experiences at various hospitals have prepared her well for the rotations she’s now completing in her sixth year of the PharmD program. She said seeing first-hand the importance of being precise and accurate with drugs and corresponding dosages has paid huge dividends now that she’s interacting more with patients.

Of her award, McQuinn was honored and grateful. “This has such deep roots in our school. I’m really touched to receive that award,” she said.

Doctoral student Tao Wang received the John L. Neumeyer Research Achievement Award, which is named for a former Matthews Distinguished Professor in Chemistry.

“This award means so much to me,” said Wang, who is studying the field of molecular recognition. “The purpose of this award is to encourage people to pursue their scientific dreams. It’s given me more encouragement to continue working hard.”