May 2024

Hundreds of School of Pharmacy Graduates Entering Field

May 22, 2024    |  

The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy (UMSOP) held multiple convocation ceremonies last week, with hundreds of new graduates entering the field.  

On May 17, UMSOP celebrated 94 graduating Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) students  at The Lyric Baltimore.

“We at the School of Pharmacy are so very proud of you,” said Sarah L.J. Michel, PhD, UMSOP dean and professor of pharmaceutical sciences, who presided over graduation for the first time as dean. “As you go into the world and start your career in pharmacy, I am looking forward to hearing about your accomplishments. Whatever path you take, continue to be resilient, tenacious, and altruistic. Continue to lead.” 

Some students challenged themselves to complete pathways in geriatric and palliative care, pharmapreneurship — an initiative created by UMSOP in 2017 that represents the development of pharmacy entrepreneurs to address the nation’s health care challenges — pharmacotherapy, and research, while others completed graduate certificates or dual degrees in pharmacometrics and regulatory science.  

Others took on leadership positions in the Student Government Association or the University Student Government Association. And some participated in legislative advocacy. 

“If you think back to when you first started school here, how many skills did you have? How many lives could you save? How many proper medications could you think about and administer? Look at you today. Look at how excellent you’ve become,” said Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), in conferring PharmD degrees to the graduates. 

In reflecting on his journey through pharmacy school, Javier Trujillo, PharmD ’24, recalls moving to Maryland not knowing anyone and developing friendships with classmates.  

During his fourth year, he worked at the Maryland Poison Center, which he said changed his career interests toward toxicology. 

“I absolutely loved working at the Maryland Poison Center. It was more fulfilling than anything I’ve ever done,” Trujillo said. 

In addition to the PharmD Ceremony, UMSOP celebrated its in-person and virtual PhD and MS programs between May 14-18. They included: 

  • The Pharmaceutical Health Services Research program — part of the Department of Practice, Sciences, and Health Outcomes Research — which recognized three PhD and three MS graduates in the Saratoga Building President’s Boardroom on May 16 before a UMB hooding ceremony for PhD students. 
  • The PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) program, which recognized 10 doctoral graduates on May 16 before a UMB hooding ceremony for PhD students. 
  • The MS in PSC program, which held its convocation ceremony on May 15 to recognize its 22 graduates. 
  • The Graduate Studies in Medical Cannabis Science program, which held a ceremony at the Universities at Shady Grove on May 14 to honor 135 MS and six certificate graduates. 
  • The MS and Graduate Certificate in Regulatory Science program, which held a convocation ceremony on May 15 to recognize its 25 master’s and seven certificate graduates. Six of the MS students also graduated from UMSOP this year with their PharmD. 
  • The MS in Pharmacometrics program, which held its graduation online on May 18 to recognize its 16 graduating students 

“We are so proud of the Class of 2024 across our PhD and MS programs,” Michel said. “Whether you’re working on discoveries in a lab, advocating for legislative and policy changes, or evaluating pharmaceutical services and interventions, we know you are and will continue to be leaders, innovators, and change makers in your respective fields.” 

Jassmin Brown, MS ’24, has a business background and said she’s looking into entrepreneurial opportunities in the medical and adult-use cannabis markets. Based in Richmond, Va., Brown described the program as exciting, motivating, and entertaining. 

“I drive to Maryland to participate in volunteer activities, make connections with my friends and faculty, and, honestly, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made because I’ve not only made lifetime friends, but also family,” Brown said. 

During the PharmD ceremony, Jarrell presented an honorary Doctor of Science degree to R.F. “Rick” Shangraw, Jr., PhD, MPA, president of Cintana Education, for which UMSOP nominated him. 

Shangraw has long been part of the UMSOP community as the son of the late Ralph F. Shangraw, a former department chair and professor emeritus of pharmaceutics. The honorary degree recognizes Shangraw’s involvement with and advocacy for advancing pharmacy education, research, and practice. 

“As you go out into the world, keep that entrepreneurial spirit to be innovative, to be creative, to think of new ways to do your job, to bring new ideas,” said Shangraw, who has been a supporter of the pharmapreneurship initiative, the school’s commitment to supporting and best positioning faculty and students to achieve their career aspirations and address health care challenges.

“Many professions around the world are changing dramatically, and pharmacy is certainly one of them,” Shangraw added. “So it’s vitally important to bring this concept of pharmapreneurship to your job.”