Outstanding Pharmacy Grad Overcomes, Learns from Struggles


Recent pharmacy school graduate Samantha Axtell of Wellington not only excelled in school despite painful flare-ups of fibromyalgia, but she also believes her pain has made her a better pharmacist.

Dr. Samantha Axtell. Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA) is a private, accredited, Christ-centered college located in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA.
Dr. Samantha Axtell

“I have found peace in the fact of knowing that my Abba Father has allowed me this health struggle for a purpose,” said Axtell, a spring graduate of Palm Beach Atlantic University’s Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy.

“I rely on Him more and have grown spiritually because of it. I have also been able to help many who struggle with similar health conditions and have the ability to empathize with patients. The Lord is constantly teaching me, through my illness, new things about His provision, grace and unfailing love for me.”

A wife and mother of two, Axtell is the 2013 recipient of the Gregory Outstanding Graduate Award. The Gregory Award is the pharmacy school’s most prestigious honor and includes a $10,000 prize. The recipient was announced during the school’s hooding ceremony in May.

The award recognizes the graduating senior in the top 10 percent of his or her class who has demonstrated a continual devotion to his or her faith and the desire to integrate faith into his or her practice. The Gregory Award recipient also has shown excellence in both health-related and community volunteer projects.


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This month Axtell, who grew up in West Palm Beach, begins a year-long residency program in the Gregory School of Pharmacy. She said the residency will allow her to fulfill her dream of bei

ng involved in both academia as well as becoming a clinical pharmacist. “I feel so blessed to have such an immense opportunity,” she said.

During her years at PBA, Axtell went on two medical mission trips to Costa Rica, and she was active in such organizations as the American Pharmacists Association, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International. She also participated in local community health fairs and brown-bag events.

“I feel strongly in the fact that to whom much is given, much is expected,” she said. “The Lord has given me such an immense opportunity of receiving this education, I do not take this lightly and plan on using it for His glory by reaching others for His kingdom.”

She also is actively involved in children’s ministries at her church, and she is devoted to her husband, Mark, and their children, Brianna, 10, and Dylan, 7.

“Keeping my priorities straight was something I brought to the Lord in prayer daily,” she said. “I prayed for wisdom to spend the correct time on each task in order to honor Him. My constant prayer was to keep Christ first, family second, then school.”