Kelly Kilgore recently graduated from the Purdue University Purdue Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program, earning her the title of Dr. Kilgore.
Also earning the Doctor of Pharmacy degree were four of her classmates from her days as a student at Purdue University North Central – James Joros, of Valparaiso; Kevin Nelson, of Michigan City and Krista Bailey, of Frankfurt.
Now the Michigan City native is ready to embark on a career that she’s spent most of her life preparing for. Prior to graduation, she accepted a job with Kroger in South Bend.
She is confident that her Purdue education prepared her for what is to come, “For the past four years I worked hard to get through the program. I feel confident in both my knowledge and my education.”
The Purdue School of Pharmacy is ranked fourth in the nation and has high admission standards. When Kilgore was admitted to the four-year program, she was one of 1,105 applicants from throughout the county. Only 152 qualified for admission. Her incoming class of Purdue pharmacy students had a collective 3.67 grade-point average.
“In all honesty, I had no idea that pharmacy was such a competitive field when I started. Thanks to the PNC Pre-Pharmacy Club, I learned about the program requirements and application process.”
She was also accepted to the University of Cincinnati’s Pharmacy Program.
Kilgore was thrilled that she and childhood Kevin Nelson were able to attend PNC together, then enter and graduate from the College of Pharmacy together.
“Having Kevin as a friend really helped during in the pharmacy program,” she said. “We worked together to make sure we both understood the material. We would quiz each other to ensure we were prepared for our exams. Having close friends throughout school really helps make getting through the program easier. It helps to have someone to support you and encourage you.”
Kilgore believes the support she received at PNC helped her successfully transition into the College of Pharmacy.
“I learned many skills essential to my success in pharmacy,” she said. “At PNC I was taught time management skills to help me balance classes and exams with work, extracurricular activities and social life. I learned how to study. Everybody has a different method of studying; I was able to learn and develop mine at PNC.”
Her advisor Keri Marrs Barron; Kent Lange (continuing lecturer of Biology) and Dr. Nancy Marthakis (associate professor of Biology) are “three people who helped me become successful. They were supportive throughout my pre-professional education. Not only did they help teach me the essentials that I needed to get into the program, each encouraged me to push myself to do my best. I left PNC knowing I could always turn to them for questions and advice.”
She also notes that she learned the importance of being active in the community while at PNC.
“I developed a passion for service that I continued in pharmacy school,” said Kilgore. “I plan to volunteer as a pharmacist to serve the people in my community.”
Much of her inspiration to pursue a career in pharmacy came from her mother.
“My mom has been a pharmacy technician since before I was born,” she said. “I would go to her pharmacy after school and help do small tasks. This originally sparked my interest. As I got older, I realized that pharmacy would be the perfect career choice for me.”
Purdue University pharmacy students complete a year of rotations that expose them to a variety of hands-on pharmacy experiences. Kilgore worked in a psychiatric hospital, a community health clinic, an independent pharmacy and with the Tippecanoe County Forensic Diversion Program.
She also spent two months with the Indian Health Services in Sells, Ariz., working with the people of the Tohono O’odham Nation at the Indian Hospital.
“This taught me about working with an underserved population and gave me the opportunity to learn about this unique culture,” she said.
As a student, Kilgore worked at Walgreen’s Pharmacy in Michigan City, giving her the hands-on experience needed to be a good pharmacist.
“My rotations and my experience with Walgreens had an influence on my career,” she noted. “I want to go into community pharmacy so that I can use my knowledge and skills to work with and advocate for the people in my community.”
Now that’s she’s a Doctor of Pharmacy, Kilgore offers some advice.
“The program can be rigorous, but is worth it. Try to find a good mentor during your pre-pharmacy years who can help guide you throughout your education. It is important to be well-rounded; find a balance between studies, work and extracurricular activities. Most importantly, make time for yourself! Pre-pharmacy and the pharmacy application process can be overwhelming at times. Take time to relax and enjoy yourself! Being passionate about what you’re doing is a necessity. When you are passionate about what you are doing it is easy to make time for everything.”
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