PHEA Pioneers Graduate

June 10, 2019

Before officially enrolling in the Wegmans School of Pharmacy, Alexander Cain ’19 (Pharm.D.) was involved with St. John Fisher College’s chapter of Phi Delta Chi, the professional pharmacy fraternity.

Alexander Cain receiving his Doctor of Pharmacy hood.

He established connections with current students and knew members of the faculty. The groundwork for his studies at the School were thanks to the Pharmacy Early Assurance (PHEA) program, which offers a select group of incoming freshmen who enter Fisher directly from high school acceptance into the School of Pharmacy after the completion of prerequisite coursework.

Cain, along with 15 of his peers, walked across the stage at Commencement in May as the first cohort of PHEA program participates to graduate from the School. Cain and fellow PHEA classmate Jillian Owens ’19 (Pharm.D.) said the program lifted the anxiety that can come with applying to pharmacy school.

“It really helped to take some pressure off of my shoulders for that final year of prerequisites and also kept me extremely motivated,” Owens said. “Another positive was that I was immersed in the pharmacy school upon my arrival to St. John Fisher College as a freshman, and it made my transition into pharmacy school seamless.”

Jillian Owens (photo credit: Jon Andreas Photography)

Upon earning her license this summer, Owens plans to work as a retail pharmacist, a step she feels ready to take. “We were trained to be well-rounded clinicians and leaders in our field, and I feel very confident moving forward in my career,” she said.

Cain, who will begin a Post-Graduate Year One pharmacy practice residency at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Mercy in Pennsylvania this summer, said leadership development workshops, service and mission trips, community service events, and networking opportunities helped prepare him for a career in pharmacy. He also credits the faculty for supporting student success.

“As a student, you also get to see what some of the faculty do at their practice sites. You get to see the amount of responsibility they have in patient care, and how well respected they are by other members of the health care team,” he said. “Seeing the amount of impact they have on a daily basis really inspires you to reach that same level.”

Along with Cain and Owens, the 2019 PHEA May graduates included Alexandria Bertalli, Ciarra Bodnar, Nathaniel Bowden, Jessica Colmerauer, Nicholas Husak, Alixandra Mann, Anthony Monachino, Anna Morris, Spencer Phillips, Trevor Quackenbush, Kaitlyn Ryan, Jayce Seeley, Jennifer Trovato, and Christey Wilkinson.