MIDTOWN ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – Alice Opoku is trying to put her best foot forward.
“Well I just wanted an intro to the medical field,” says the Rockwood Summit sophomore. “It’ll look good on my college applications. And then I will have the introduction and I’ll do better at school with the courses I’m taking here.”
Opoku is enrolled in the BESt Pharmacy Summer Institute. The ‘B’ is for Barnes Jewish Hospital, ‘E’ for Express Scripts, and the ‘ST’ for the St. Louis College of Pharmacy.
All three combined are making a great prescription for success with these high school students.
“Over 90% are pursuing health professions as a career option whether it be pharmacy, nursing, pre-med, or dentistry,” says Steven Player, PharmD with Barnes Jewish Hospital. “So the program is showing tremendous success and impact on our students.”
The six week summer institute is a training ground for multicultural teenagers from the region. These 50 students are immersed in classes, training and preparing academically and professionally for future careers in healthcare.
“We deal with text books from Monday through Wednesday,” says Mauricio Pimenteo, a 17-year old senior at Metro High School. “Thursdays we get to go into the labs and do hands on activities which really backs up what we`ve learned in class.”
“We have English, Pharmacy, Pre-Calculus, and an ACT course which helps a lot,” says fellow classmate Curtis Walls, a 16-year old Ladue Horton Watkins senior.
“So as a college, we saw this as an opportunity for the college to get involved and provide students in the St. Louis area with an opportunity to see what it’s like to be a true pharmacy student,” says Freddie Wills the director of diversity at St. Louis College of Pharmacy.
Which is not easy, many days start at 8am and end at 8pm. But they students are also living on campus and getting a taste of what’s to come.
“Which is very interesting, I guess, living with two other people I’ve never met before. And just trying to work around them and have our own schedules we have going on,” says Walls.
This seems like a win-win for everyone involved, especially since these students get college credit and some real-life experience.
“How does that make you feel?” asks Patrick Clark.
“Proud,” says Player. “I’m really excited to play an important role in the student’s career.”
That`s what makes this the BESt program.