147 White Coats, 8 Recitation Leaders, and 1 Ceremony Later, the Class of 2027 Begins Their Journey

By Bryan Gomez

The incoming Doctor of Pharmacy Class of 2027 knows better than most that this year is going to be a big one—literally. With 147 first-year students, it’s the largest class the college has ever welcomed through the doors of the 120-year-old institution. This past Saturday, the students officially joined the PharmDawg family during the college’s 24th annual White Coat Ceremony, when Dean Kelly Smith spoke about the transformative nature of pharmacy at UGA. “Over the next four years,” she said, “you will evolve, not just as a pharmacist, but as a leader and provider for those you serve.”

It’s that transformative process of becoming a pharmacist that has P1 students, such as Jacob Rojas, excited for what’s to come. “For years as an undergrad, I was involved in pre-health organizations and always told myself and others that I’d become a healthcare provider one day,” he said. “Now, I’m finally getting to make that dream a reality. I’m finally doing the thing I always wanted.” Mina Amirkhani, a P1 student who completed her pre-pharmacy studies at UGA and has previous work experience with Walgreens, is similarly thrilled to begin her professional journey. “I’m most excited to learn drug information that is directly applicable to my future career, and it’s rewarding to know that everything we study from here on out has its roots in helping patients,” she shared.

The opportunity to help patients is what drew incoming student Karsin Bass to pharmacy school, and she’s particularly excited about using her career to help children. “I love kids and am currently thinking about a career in pediatrics. But, I also want to spend time learning about other fields and seeing all that pharmacy has to offer,” she explained, adding, “It’s exciting to have the freedom to explore for a few more years!” For Paige Miller, who grew up in Charleston, SC, and graduated from Clemson with a degree in chemistry, exploring a new program in a new city is what the next few years are all about. “I’m most excited about diving into all the student organizations, getting involved, and meeting more people. I’ve worked in non-sterile compounding at an independent pharmacy, and I can’t wait to learn more and try out even more new skills.”

It’s not just Jacob, Mina, Karsin, and Paige who are excited about the start of the new year, though. The fervent enthusiasm they embody is palpable throughout the entire class, and it’s shared by the entire PharmDawg community at large as well. Mr. Mahlon Davidson, Class of 1982 alumnus and newly appointed Interim CEO of the Georgia Pharmacy Association, welcomed the new class at the White Coat Ceremony, explaining how the future of pharmacy looks brighter because of the promising future PharmDs sitting in front of him. “I look forward to four years from now when you graduate, and I can tell you that pharmacy just got better,” he said. “Today, the International Pharmacy Federation defines more than 100 career pathways a pharmacist can pursue. Tomorrow, as a Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Georgia, you will be positioned to define even more pathways in the future practice of our profession.”

Yes, the next four years will certainly transform the largest class of pharmacy students the college has ever seen into practicing pharmacists, but so too will they transform the profession itself. With 147 unique stories converging onto one common path, the Class of 2027 enters the world of pharmacy, carrying with it a torch of progress that promises to illuminate a brighter future.

 


Pictured above:

Incoming P1 student Emily Dyke is coated by Dr. Jason Zastre, one of the class’s recitation leaders.

The PharmD Class of 2027 after receiving their white coats. 

Dean Smith and Mahlon Davidson, ’82


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