First graduating class of UTEP’s School of Pharmacy ready to take the stage with unique training

El Paso News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The first graduating class of UTEP’s pharmacy school is walking the stage this weekend.

There are 40 students that will be earning a doctor of pharmacy degree. They started their journey as UTEP students in 2017.

The founding dean of the program said you have to have certain characteristics to be a pharmacist. Not only do you have to understand science and analyze certain information, but also be able to communicate with patients and understand the community.

At the UTEP School of Pharmacy, students go through a unique curriculum.

“We emphasize primary care and prevention but we do it in a way that embraces the patient and the community, the culture, the language,” said Jose Rivera, Founding Dean of UTEP School of Pharmacy

Unlike other programs in the country, this one also helps students understand the medical terms in Spanish.

“I think this is the best program right now in Texas or across the nation because it does prepare pharmacy students to become pharmacists with a bilingual background,” said Marlene Gallegos, who is part of the first class.

Gallegos is a single mom and a teacher who took a leap of faith to follow her dreams of being a pharmacist.

“It was scary. I had to quit working. I was a full-time student. I was also a mom,” said Gallegos.

She encourages everyone to follow your dreams and goals.

“Pursue your dreams. It doesn’t matter how old you are. It doesn’t matter what kind of obstacles you have to go through. I mean we’re going thru all of this in the middle of a global pandemic,” said Gallegos.

The students will be having their hooding ceremony Thursday evening and their graduation is set for May 15.

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