Summer internships give USF student athletes a glimpse into Pharmacy

As USF student athletes commit much of their summer to conditioning training, four students will add internships based in the USF College of Pharmacy to their summer schedules.

The internship program, now in its fourth year and going from May 17 to July 1, is designed to offer qualified student athletes with professional, skill-building experiences they can translate to their future professional endeavors, said Kevin Sneed, PharmD, senior associate vice president of USF Health and dean of the USF College of Pharmacy.

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At Pharmacy Plus are, from left, Shalethia Stringfield, Dr. Kevin Sneed, Katelyn Weber and Jaymon Thomas. Not pictured is Kirk Livingstone.

“Our key goal with these internships is to provide learning and mentoring opportunities to student athletes who already display traits for leading and succeeding in science careers,” Dr. Sneed said. “We also want to fill a pipeline between our College and our athletic programs for introducing students to pharmacy in hopes that they pursue their careers in pharmacy with us.”

Dr. Sneed said that, like student groups across USF, the athletic program is full of high-achievers and academically successful students, especially in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

“A student group like athletics is ripe with future scientists and we want to offer opportunities to those who might want a career in health,” Dr. Sneed said. “The key is to make sure these students know about our program and an internship lets them gain an even better glimpse of just how unique our innovative curriculum is.”

This year, four students were accepted as College of Pharmacy interns and will spend this summer conducting research, conducting community health assessments, developing sickle cell education programs, and spending time in the College’s innovative retail pharmacy, Pharmacy Plus.

This year’s interns are Kirk Livingstone (football), Shalethia Stringfield (former basketball), Jaymon Thomas (football) and Katelyn Weber (basketball).

Jaymon Thomas is a rising sophomore at USF and majoring in health sciences. As a safety for the USF Bulls football team, much of his time outside of class is devoted to training. But this summer, he will split time between the gym and the College of Pharmacy.

“A teammate who went through an internship told me about this opportunity and said that I should go for it,” Thomas said. “I’m considering a career in either pharmacy or physical therapy and this internship is helping me take a look at pharmacy, giving me a test run.”

Just a few weeks into the internship, Thomas said he’s had some of his preconceived notions shaken up.

“This is my first time behind the counter of any pharmacy and this one has so many devices helping dispense medicine to patients,” Thomas said. “It’s not what you would think of at all, like counting pills. It’s much more advanced.”

Katelyn Weber plays center for women’s basketball at USF and is a rising senior studying health sciences with a focus nutrition. She is returning to the internship program this summer, after having participated in one last summer.

“I’ve been interested in pharmacy as a career,” Weber said. “And these internships have helped me explore the pharmacy world early. I have an interest in nutrition and was thinking I’d have to choose between nutrition and pharmacy but just recently was told there are great careers as a nutritional pharmacist.”

Alumni from this internship with the USF College of Pharmacy includes Kayvon Webster, who now plays NFL football with the Denver Broncos and is the first USF Bull to play in two Super Bowls.

Photo by Eric Younghans, USF Health Office of Communications