First Honor Graduates, those who maintain a 4.0 GPA throughout their academic career, are highly distinguished at the UGA College of Pharmacy. Not only are they hooded first at their Commencement ceremony, but they also receive a special fourragere to wear on their graduation day. Savannah Mace is one of two First Honor PharmD Graduates from the Class of 2023.
Mace, originally from southern California, moved to Kennesaw with her family when she was in elementary school, but has spent the past two years in Savannah for pharmacy school. After graduation, Mace plans to start her PGY1 residency at the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville and likely pursue a PGY2 in either critical care or pediatrics.
While at the College of Pharmacy, Mace was involved in a wide variety of organizations, including GSHP, APhA, and Rho Chi. She additionally performed research under Dr. Misha Watts, where she and her co-author, Tori Redshaw, had the opportunity to present at the ASHP Midyear Meeting in Las Vegas this year. Mace also was a content developer under Dr. Christopher Bland for the NAPLEX Question of the Week Feature through McGraw Hill Education, volunteered in the pharmacy of Mercy Health Center during her time in Athens, and was a Publix pharmacy intern throughout all of pharmacy school.
The College of Pharmacy Marketing and Communications Office had the chance to get her perspective on her time at the College of Pharmacy.
College of Pharmacy: Why did you want to become a pharmacist?
Savannah Mace: I have always known that I wanted to work in the medical field to combine my love of science and helping others. During my undergraduate years, I found topics in pharmacy to be fascinating which is how I ended up pursuing pharmacy specifically. During pharmacy school and my first clinical rotations, I quickly learned a career in clinical pharmacy was what I found to be most fulfilling. I love being able to interact with other healthcare professionals and patients to impact outcomes directly and positively. I have always wanted to work in a hospital/inpatient setting, however, I truly believe that whether you are working in the community or in an ICU, as a pharmacist we are able to use our drug expertise to make a vital impact on the patients that we serve.
CoP: You have obviously been quite successful in your academic endeavors. What does it mean to you to be a “First Honor” graduate?
Mace: It means so much to me to be able to graduate with this honor. I remember hearing about this during one of our very first pharmacy school orientations, and I thought to myself it was insane that anyone could be capable of achieving that, so it is surreal to me that I was able to accomplish this goal. Overall, I am very honored, proud, and genuinely excited to be able to stand on graduation day with this recognition.
CoP: Describe your work ethic. How does someone get a 4.0 all throughout college? What is the secret to your success?
Mace: For me, I think the secret to success is persistence. Yes, a lot of hard work, disciplined studying, and passion for learning and achievement went into this, but I think the main thing that got me where I am today is persistence. It was keeping a goal in mind and finding a way to persevere and perform at the best of my ability and no matter how exhausted, frustrated, or ready to quit I was. I also fully believe that there is no way to get through something like this without a good support system. I have to give credit to my amazing family and friends who stood by my side through all of the stress and tirelessly cheered me on along the way.
CoP: Who has been a mentor to you and why?
Mace: Dr. Misha Watts and Dr. Christopher Bland have been amazing mentors to me. They truly made the Savannah campus feel like home to me and were always there to help me through anything I needed. They provided me with so many incredible opportunities, and I truly do not think I would have made it through the residency application process without them. I also have to give a shout out to my preceptor, Dr. Karyn Taylor, who without I never would have discovered my passion for pediatrics. All of these amazing people have shown me the type of pharmacist I aspire to be.
CoP: What has been your favorite memory about being a PharmDawg?
Mace: It is extremely difficult to pinpoint a specific moment that stands out to me throughout my time as a PharmDawg because there have been so many incredible memories. I think I would have to say that the people I met along the way were definitely my favorite part of my time here. Inside the classroom and out, I was so extremely blessed to be surrounded by the most amazing classmates, professors, and mentors I could have ever asked for. All of the countless sleepless nights studying, game days, trips, and events I got to spend with the best group of friends definitely add up to be what I will remember the most about my time as a PharmDawg.