Missouri Pharmacy Association Honors UMKC’s Brady Smith as Student of the Year

School of Pharmacy student's resume of success, leadership stands out

Brady Smith was still in middle school when he felt the tug of his career calling. It started with a job shadowing opportunity at school. Following his pharmacist father seemed like a safe bet.

“Dad was the one I job shadowed because of the convenience,” Smith said. “And I figured out, hey, I really kind of like pharmacy. Pretty much from sixth grade on, I’ve known that I’ve wanted to go into the pharmacy field.”

Smith began working in his father’s community pharmacy in Neosho, Missouri, during his senior year of high school. His career path hasn’t veered much since.

Now a fourth-year pharmacy student at the UMKC School of Pharmacy’s Missouri State University campus in Springfield, he is an accomplished student, a mentor for younger students and an ambassador for the School of Pharmacy.

He’s also the Missouri Pharmacy Association’s Student of the Year. Presented annually, the award recognizes a pharmacy student for commitment to pharmacy and community, participation in pharmacy organizations and community involvement.

The award caught Smith off guard.

“I didn’t even know it was a thing. I was actually quite surprised,” Smith said. “I was very honored to receive the award.”

His resume made Smith a perfect candidate for the award.

Since moving to Springfield to attend college, he has spent the past four years working as a pharmacy intern at a local community pharmacy.

“It’s really the niche that I enjoy in pharmacy,” Smith said. “I've been working there since before I got into pharmacy school. I feel like that's kind of helped me through the pharmacy curriculum as well.”

Earlier this year, Smith took an elective course in business planning. He and three classmates teamed up to participate in the Community Pharmacist Association’s Student Business Plan Competition. Their plan was strong enough to place them in the top 10 in the national competition.

Smith points to his leadership experience as a highlight of his student career. He’s been a student liaison on local and national committees, while at the same time doing weekly tutoring sessions with third-year pharmacy students. He also serves as a student ambassador for the School of Pharmacy. It’s a big responsibility helping students on the Springfield campus get and stay connected to the school in Kansas City.

“You’re the face of the UMKC School of Pharmacy, welcoming new students, attending orientation and helping students transition into pharmacy school,” Smith said. “That role has a lot of responsibility and a lot of merit.”

Smith exemplifies the quality of students at the School of Pharmacy, said Paul Gubbins, Pharm.D., associate dean for the UMKC School of Pharmacy at Missouri State University.

“UMKC School of Pharmacy has the best student pharmacists,” Gubbins said. “They contribute much to their communities and our profession, which has been recognized time and time again at the national and state level. Being from the Springfield site, we are incredibly proud of Brady. He is someone who has demonstrated himself as a student leader since the day he started our program. In addition, he is passionate about our profession and thus, I have no doubt he will be an excellent pharmacist and accomplish much in his career. I will be excited to see his future achievements for many years to come.”

Smith is on track to graduate from pharmacy school next May. But he’s already looking at extending his academic career. Next up, he hopes, will be a residency to prepare him to work in ambulatory care or possibly academic pharmacy.

“It’s a one-year residency and they say that you get three years’ worth of teaching in that one year,” Smith said. “I’d love to get that additional knowledge and information before I get out there in the real world.”

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