Durell Peaden Campus Alum and Mentor Earn the Prestigious AACP Walmart Scholars Award
FAMU CoPPS, IPH, Durell Peaden Jr. Rural Pharmacy Education Campus, alumni Dr. Ian Villaluz (Class of 2021), and his faculty mentor, Dr. Madison Como, received the prestigious American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) Walmart Scholars award. The award seeks to strengthen the recipient’s skills and commitment to a career in academic pharmacy through their participation at the AACP Annual Meeting.
Eighty-five (85) student-faculty pairs from AACP member institutions were selected for the 2021 AACP Walmart Scholars Program to participate in the AACP Annual Meeting and Teachers Seminar. The scholarship is intended to cover 100% of the student’s cost to register for the AACP Pharmacy Education 2021 Meeting and Teachers Seminar. The remaining funds are intended to offset the expenses associated with the individual’s ongoing educational expenses.
“Receiving this scholarship has been such a blessing in so many little ways,” said Dr. Villaluz. “I often struggle with “looking ahead” too much and not being able to enjoy the moment, so being recognized has allowed me to stop and be reminded of the hard work that I have done over the past four years. However, it also serves as a testament to the nurturing environment of FAMU CoPPS, IPH, and its faculty – especially Dr. Como , who recognized my potential and pushed me to be the best student and pharmacist I could be.”
The application process for the award consists of having the faculty/learner pair fill out an application, provide an official GPA verification letter, write an academic pharmacy essay to demonstrate understanding of the three pillars of academia, and write a statement of experience and future career goals, including reasons for wanting to participate in the program. The faculty mentor also writes a letter of support explaining how the faculty member believes the applicant will benefit from the program.
The faculty mentor’s role in this award is to serve as a mentor to the learner in their application and their endeavors to begin a career in academic pharmacy. The learner/mentor pair has typically worked closely together before the application process. The faculty mentor can speak to the learner’s attributes and goals, how they will contribute to a successful career in academia, and how the mentor will continue to support the learner.
“It is with great pleasure that I accept this award with Dr. Ian Villaluz,” said Dr. Como. ”Dr. Villaluz always stood out amongst his peers as an exceptionally friendly, outgoing, and hardworking student. During his P4 year, I was able to work more closely with him as his faculty mentor and research advisor. Throughout pharmacy school, he served as a mentor for the RxCare program, volunteered in the community, held several student leadership positions, and published articles with his preceptors. I am proud of Dr. Villaluz’s efforts thus far, and I am confident he will continue to make FAMU proud as a clinical pharmacist.”
Currently, Dr. Villaluz is completing a PGY-1 at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center in Cincinnati, OH. In the future, he says he would like to work in an ambulatory care setting eventually. He said that he would like to stay within the VA healthcare system or work with the local college(s) of pharmacy to be a preceptor for IPPE and APPE students to help raise the next generation of great pharmacists.
Dr. Villaluz is only the second CoPPS, IPH learner to be honored with this award. The first was Dr. Como when she was a P4 learner recipient of the program in 2018, with faculty mentor Dr. Chenita Carter.