Student pharmacist among select group chosen for prestigious 2018 AACP Walmart Scholar Program

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Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy student pharmacist Matthew Murphy is among a select group chosen to participate in the prestigious American Association of College of Pharmacy Walmart Scholars Program for 2018. Murphy, of Nashville, is a fourth-year student pharmacist and is on track to complete his Doctor of Pharmacy degree in May 2019.

Murphy_Matt_300Out of over 14,000 student pharmacists Murphy is among only 85 students selected nationwide from AACP member institutions to participate in this year’s program. The program provides $1,000 travel scholarships to recipients to attend the AACP Annual Meeting and the AACP Teachers Seminar in Boston July 21-24.

 AACP and Walmart share the commitment to help colleges and schools of pharmacy ensure there are an adequate number of well-prepared individuals who aspire to join the faculties of our expanding programs across the country. The goal of this scholarship program is to strengthen the recipient’s skills and commitment to a career in academic pharmacy through participation in programming and activities at the 2018 AACP Annual Meeting and Seminars.

“I am so proud of Matt’s accomplishments and Dr. Mercer’s mentorship and leadership in this recognition,” said Dr. Roger L. Davis, vice provost and dean of Lipscomb’s College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences. “Having our students and faculty selected for programs such as this from among their peers across the nation is recognition of the quality of Lipscomb’s program, the hard work and expertise of our faculty and the dedication of our students to set the bar high for what they are learning and doing educationally.”

Dr. Susan L. Mercer, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, is Murphy’s faculty mentor. The AACP Walmart Scholars is awarded to student/faculty pairs.  

“The Walmart Scholars Program is an excellent way to encourage students to pursue academia, providing them insight to faculty responsibilities, expectations and emerging trends in the profession,” said Mercer. “In the classroom, Matt shows outstanding intellect and a great determination to succeed. He works diligently to master concepts and apply his knowledge to more complex situations. Matt does not hesitate to ask questions when material is unclear and can often be found teaching concepts to his fellow classmates. He exhibits a true passion to learn and succeed in his career.”

“I am very proud of Matt for being selected and through this experience he will gain invaluable knowledge on how to succeed and excel beyond Lipscomb to become an amazing professional in pharmacy education,” she continued.

Murphy, who earned his undergraduate degree at Lipscomb University, said being named an AACP Walmart Scholar is particularly meaningful to him and also reflects the influence the faculty has had on his educational experience.

“It is a direct reflection of the training and guidance that Lipscomb's College of Pharmacy offers,” said Murphy. “It also demonstrates the quality of student mentoring that Dr. Mercer provides. It is not the first time one of Dr. Mercer’s mentees has been named a Walmart Scholar which only further proves how valuable her guidance is.”

“It validates my desire to one day be in academic pharmacy as even people outside of Lipscomb believe I have the potential as seen through the award,” said Murphy.

Murphy is a past participant in the Lipscomb College of Pharmacy’s Pharmaceutical Sciences Summer Research Program. As part of his work through that program during the summers of 2015 and 2016, he worked on a collaborative project between Mercer’s laboratory and Dr. Joseph Deweese, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, focused on the synthesis and biological evaluation of metabolically stable podophyllotoxin and etoposide analogs to investigate the mechanism that causes secondary leukemias associated with etoposide use.

In addition, Murphy was awarded a 2016-2017 American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education Gateway to Research Scholarship which required a well-developed mentorship plan which includes attending the AACP and AAPS annual meetings, engaging in IPPE/APPE research experiences, and research elective opportunities.  As a result of his dedicated research activities he has presented both poster and oral presentations and was a co-author on a book chapter in Advances in Molecular Toxicology focused on Inhibitors and Poisons of Topoisomerase II (2017).

Murphy is one of six Lipscomb student pharmacists who have been named AACP Walmart Scholars since the college was founded a decade ago.

“All six have been in the top of their class academically and have been heavily engaged in research throughout their pharmacy training,” said Dr. Scott Akers, professor and chair of pharmaceutical sciences, “Matt is highly intelligent with a very pleasant and welcoming personality that is a combination that serves him well not only as he interacts with fellow student pharmacists and professors but that will also in his goal of pharmacy education.”

Lipscomb’s College of Pharmacy has had a tremendous impact on Murphy, who gives much credit to Mercer for her mentorship.

“It has had a tremendous impact on me,” said Murphy, who has attended Lipscomb for 19 years, beginning in Pre-First grade at Lipscomb Academy. “The program has provided me with numerous opportunities to explore my passion for research and find a career that interests me. Furthermore, it has provided a sound foundation in pharmaceutical knowledge as well as leadership and service. I simply could never say enough about the impact that the pharmacy program has had on me.”

In the future, Murphy said he plans to participate in the Lipscomb and Vanderbilt Pharm.D./Ph.D. degree program. Upon completion of pharmacy school in May 2019, he will enter Vanderbilt to pursue graduate research in clinical pharmacology with the goal of one day running a laboratory at an academic institution or working in the pharmaceutical industry.

The mission of the Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy is to provide an educational environment characterized by academic excellence and Christian faith, where student pharmacists are prepared to advance the profession and optimize patient medication outcomes in an ethical and compassionate practice.

The College of Pharmacy is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).  Its Doctor of Pharmacy degree is a demanding, full-time, four-year course of study that adheres to the highest professional standards, while providing an educational foundation for a career in one of the fastest-growing industries in the country. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of pharmacists is expected to increase by 25 percent from 2013 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. 

Lipscomb’s student pharmacists achieved the top first-time pass rate in Tennessee and the 18th highest pass rate in the nation on the NAPLEX (North American Pharmacy Licensure Exam) in 2017.

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