Josuah Tilus was proud to serve as a flag-bearer at American Free Enterprise Day, when the University honored his mentor, Atlantis Pharmacy Owner Dr. Damien Simmons, as a companion medalist.
Tilus didn’t see a photographer snap his picture as he carried the flag in the processional — an image that now graces the front of 3,000 Fourth of July cards from PBA.
Tilus, a rising junior studying medicinal and biological chemistry with a pharmaceutical concentration, was sure to grab a few extra copies of the card for his parents, but he doesn’t want to “get a big head” about it. Instead, he wants to use the spotlight to talk about how PBA has helped him grow academically and spiritually.
He was drawn to PBA because it is a Christian university with a pharmacy program, and “there was just something different about the people” who were manning the table at a college fair he attended. Even so, when he arrived as a freshman, Tilus was taken aback by how friendly everyone was — a warmth that he expected to fade after a few months. It never did.
“I knew that God wanted me here at PBA,” Tilus said. “You can tell the difference in a Christian community, when it flows from the people and it’s not just a marketing gimmick.”
His roommates are “probably two of the godliest people I know,” he said.
The Sunrise native and graduate of Coral Springs Christian Academy has served as a peer mentor for incoming pre-pharmacy students, who get an initial shock from the rigors of the major. Tilus is also a presidential ambassador.
He realized early on that he wasn’t cut out for another healthcare profession after shadowing his mom, a nurse. He’s drawn to pharmacy because of a knack for biology, chemistry and math.
“I know God wouldn’t just give that to me to not use it,” Tilus said.
But the avid table tennis player learned a valuable lesson from his matches in the lobby of Oceanview Hall: He can’t always muscle his way through challenges. He has to work at them.
“It is a good metaphor for life,” Tilus said. “You can’t always follow your strengths, because if you do, the ball doesn’t always hit the table again.”
Tilus wants to be an independent pharmacy owner like Simmons, rather than a corporate pharmacist, so that he can do the most good in people’s lives. He is learning about community pharmacy through an internship with Simmons, a member of the Gregory Leadership Council who recently endowed a scholarship.
Tilus is amazed at how one little pill can do so much to harm or heal a patient.
“I want to help be an agent of that change,” Tilus said. “Dr. Simmons has been a really good mentor. We are impacting every single life, being in their lives as much as possible.”