UT College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences News

Pharmacy Student-Athletes Stay in the Game

While national headlines focus on the academic performance of student-athletes, UT pharmacy students balance sports and school on the road to becoming practitioners.

In rigorous academic programs like those offered in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, it is rare to see successful student-athletes. The time commitments required by academic and athletic endeavors can seem at odds with one another. However, many pharmacy and pharmaceutical science students over the years have met the challenge and simultaneously nurtured their career goals and their love of sports.

Auckley

Melissa Auckley, a P2 student in the PharmD program, is a member of The University of Toledo’s swimming and diving team. A competitive swimmer since the age of eight, she chose UT for its excellent swimming and diving team and for the national recognition of the pharmacy program.

“I chose to major in pharmacy because I really enjoyed science classes in high school and my favorite chemistry professor suggested going into pharmacy,” Auckley said. “That was enough to convince me that pharmacy was the right fit.”

Balancing school with athletics is an ongoing challenge, which Auckley manages through frequent communication with faculty members and by studying en route to competitions. Managing her time well is among the strengths Auckley has developed over the years.

“Some characteristics that help me in both school and in swimming are being determined and hardworking,” Auckley said.

Gonring

P3 PharmD student Nathan Gonring agrees. Gonring started playing golf recreationally when he was eight years old and has played competitively for nine years. A native of Bedford, Mich., he chose The University of Toledo because of its proximity to his hometown and the wealth of academic programs the university offers.

He began his freshman year as a chemical engineering major, but decided that a career in health care was better aligned with his strengths, so he transferred into the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

“Work ethic and time management skills are essential for any pharmacy student, but I think being able to let go of the things out of your own control and get better at one thing every day goes a long way in getting where you want to go in school and on the course” Gonring said.

Like Auckley, Gonring took classwork with him while traveling so that he could stay on track with his coursework.

North

Former UT baseball player, Jacob North, is a P3 PharmD student. He believes pride is a key characteristic for success in pharmacy school and in baseball.

“Having pride in what I do drove me to do as best as I could, whether it was studying or putting in extra practice,” he said.

Both North and Auckley mention their families as a source of inspiration and strength. The support of pharmacy faculty members and classmates is also instrumental.

“Traveling made things difficult, so taking advantage of downtime on the road or on the bus was important.  With the help of a good friend who kept me up with all of the classes, I was able to make it through the semester,” North said.

Auckley, Gonring and North continue to explore career options in pharmacy to determine which area of practice best suits their interests and talents. They demonstrate organization, focus and determination, all of which will serve them well as students and practitioners.

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is the Scientific Editor and College Communicator for The University of Toledo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. She is a triple alumna of The University of Toledo with master's degrees in English and Education and a graduate certificate in Patient Advocacy.
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