Involvement Key for UMKC PharmD Student

Rewards come from caring for patients and connecting with colleagues

Roos don’t just dream, they do. Our students turn ideas into action every day. Get to know our people, and you’ll know what UMKC is all about.

Calvin Flemons
Anticipated graduation: 2025
Academic program: PharmD
Hometown: St. Louis
Why did you choose UMKC?
I initially chose UMKC for two reasons: It was close to home, and it had a six-year pharmacy
program compared to seven years at many other universities. I wanted to attend a university
that was affordable and would allow me to get away from home, but not too far. UMKC is
the perfect distance that allows for independence and a college experience. The six-year
program was the big ticket that drew me to campus because I could obtain my PharmD in less
time and for less money!
Why did you choose your field of study?
Believe it or not, I did not always want to become a pharmacist. Originally, I wanted to become an engineer, but the math courses made me rethink my decision
quickly. However, I still liked math and also loved helping and caring for people. After
researching a multitude of careers in healthcare, I felt that pharmacy gave me that perfect
What are the challenges of the program?
No program is easy, but I would say time management and the heavy course load is challenging. In pharmacy school, there are some weeks when you have three exams, quizzes and homework all due in the same week. It never slows down. The load of the material and amount of studying is the most rewarding, but also the most challenging. You must figure out how to study effectively and utilize all your time efficiently.
What are the benefits of the program?
The biggest benefit of the PharmD program is knowing all this material will equip you to care
for patients in the future. Knowing that people’s lives will be in your hands makes you excited
to learn new things every day and to challenge yourself to a new level. Another benefit is
having the opportunity to work alongside other programs on the Health Sciences campus. Getting to interact with medical, dental and nursing students allows me to see multiple aspects of healthcare and how we all fit into this large puzzle.
How has your college program inspired you?
My college program has inspired me to never give up and to not only represent myself, but all
those around me and coming after me. Attending a PWI (predominantly white institution),
feeling like you belong and feel included can be a challenge sometimes. In this program there
are very few students who look like me, so I am inspired to encourage other students of color
to go into healthcare. Our representation is vital, and if my presence can help someone else
feel inspired or interested in healthcare, then I am doing my part.
Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?
Comparing freshman year to me today is a 0 - 100 experience. During my journey in school, I
have learned that I am very ambitious and want to get the most out of my experience here. I
love being involved and interacting with others on campus whether it is students, faculty or
administration. I have also learned that I am - and want to continue to be - impactful on and off
campus. I believe the best way to make an impact is to give back and serve those around you.
Through my time working with organizations, I learned that I could impact and help those around me,
which is very fulfilling.
Are you a first-generation college student? If so, what does that mean to you?
I am not a first-generation college student, but I am a first-generation pharmacy student. My
mother and father paved the way for me and my sister, and education has always been important.
Being a first-generation pharmacy student however means everything to me because I am
doing this for myself, my family and my community. Knowing that Black men in healthcare are
scarce, we need more of us to represent and make an impact and difference. Having the
knowledge to improve and possibly change someone’s life is mind-blowing and I am grateful
every day of the journey.
Who/What do you admire most at UMKC and why?
I admire all of the student leaders that I get the privilege to work alongside. Seeing these
students show up to the task every time with no complaints and still uphold their academics
is motivational. There are many students who have taught me so much during my journey and I
hope to do the same for others around me.
What other extracurricular activities are you involved in at UMKC?
I am very involved on both the Volker campus and Hospital Hill campus at UMKC. Being a part
of these organizations allows me to challenge myself and give back to my campus and community! I am involved in 7 organizations: President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. – Delta Rho Chapter; Vice-President of The National Society of Leadership and Success; President-Elect of The Student National Pharmaceutical Association; UMKC STAHR Ambassador; Treasurer of The Student College of Clinical Pharmacists; Treasurer of Black Student Pharmacists Organization; Financial Recorder of National Pan-Hellenic Council.
What do you hope to take from your experiences at UMKC into your professional career?
I hope to make new connections with other UMKC students and faculty around me. I believe that lifelong connections with others is more important than any amount of coursework you could learn.

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Published: Nov 2, 2022