1. So, Chip, what are you currently up to?
a. Since graduation, I made my way up to WVU Medicine in Morgantown, WV, for residency. After residency, I worked for Cleveland Clinic Florida for three years as an oncology pharmacist. I am currently an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at GSOP at PBA, specifically coordinating the hematology/oncology curriculum.
2. What’s it been like returning to GSOP as a full-time faculty member?
a. It was definitely surreal at first. But, it has honestly been a dream come true. Besides getting to work with cancer patients every day, and being a source of information and support, the best part of my career prior to starting at GSOP was working with students. At WVU, the School of Pharmacy is located in the hospital, which meant that I interacted with pharmacy students on a daily basis. At Cleveland Clinic, I precepted many GSOP students and residents, and it was truly a highlight of my time there. So, when the opportunity to teach oncology at GSOP came about, it was a no-brainer decision to apply.
b. So far, my time at GSOP has been wonderful! I had a blast teaching the P1’s in the Communication course in the Fall semester, and have thoroughly enjoyed coordinating the Hematology/Oncology course for the P3’s this spring. My years here as a pharmacy student were some of the best of my life, so it truly is a blessing to be able to work here now as a pharmacist.
3. What is a book you’ve recently read?
a. I read To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, every year or so. It is one of my favorite books and I think a book that everyone should read at least once in their lives. We spend so much time focusing on and fearing the things that make us different when we should be embracing those differences and loving each other in spite of those differences. Life is hard enough, so let’s try to be good to each other.
b. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” – Atticus Finch
4. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
a. Don’t spend so much time and effort worrying about the future that you forget to live in the moment. Don’t worry about the future. Trust me, my life now is not even close to what I was stressing it would be when I was 20, but it’s better than I ever thought it could be. Work hard to live in the moment.
5. What accomplishment are you most proud of?
a. I was the MVP of the 2007 Cardinal Newman High School golf team. That was a team I have many fond memories from.
6. In what ways were you most impacted during your time at GSOP?
a. I learned who I was as a man while at GSOP. I learned that being a kind, sensitive, emotional man was a good thing, and something I should embrace, rather than steer away from. I also learned what it meant to have a relationship with God, something that had been around me all my life, but that I didn’t really understand until I came to pharmacy school. I am an imperfect human, but with God on my side, nobody can be against me.
7. What do you do for fun?
a. I’m a big golf guy, I love watching any and all sports (go Gators, go Heat, go Dolphins), I love to read, I love to bake (I’m a big fan of the Great British Baking Show), and I’m of huge fan of Disney and Ted Lasso.
8. What is the best professional advice you’ve received?
a. Never give up. You are good enough, so quit comparing yourself to others. Just keep your head down, work hard, and it will all work out.
9. What is something you learned at GSOP that you will never forget?
a. The concept of servant-leadership. How I can make an impact in my community and as a leader by putting others first.
10. What is the best way to start a day?
a. Ugh, I am not a morning person, so I don’t think there is a best way to start the day. Maybe on a Saturday morning when my alarm is waking me up and I can sleep in. All kidding aside, I love a good cup of coffee and a crossword puzzle at my favorite diner in town.
11. Who was your most influential professor at GSOP?
a. This is a tough question to answer because they are all my colleagues now, so let me just say that all of them had a huge impact on my life. Which is actually a very accurate statement! The faculty here at GSOP is so diverse, with many different backgrounds and outlooks on life. I learned a lot about being a Christian and a pharmacist from them simply by going to school here.
b. But I’d also like to say that one preceptor in particular had a huge impact on my life and career. Kristen Boykin was my oncology APPE preceptor at Cleveland Clinic Florida. Her rotation solidified oncology for me as my career path, she was my biggest supporter and cheerleader through the residency application process and through residency, and she even helped me land my first job after residency at Cleveland Clinic. I owe so much to her and I could never thank her enough. So, let that be a lesson to P4’s to always try your best on your APPE rotations because you never know what that connection could mean for your career.
12. What has been the best professional decision you’ve made?
a. I was born and raised right here in West Palm Beach, Florida. I’m actually s third-generation West Palm Beacher. Me, my dad, and my grandparents were all born at Good Samaritan Medical Center, right here in WPB. So the best professional decision I’ve made has been to complete my residency out of state, in a place completely different than South Florida. West Virginia fits that bill perfectly. I was 1,000 miles away from home, way out of my comfort zone, which forced me to learn how to be more self-reliant and independent. I saw snow for the first time during my time in West Virginia! Being that far from home also helped me to figure out who I truly am, what my weaknesses are and how to work on them, and what my strengths are and how to best utilize them both as a man and as a pharmacist.
13. If you weren’t a pharmacist, what job do you think you’d be really good at?
a. Either a baker and open up my own bakery in downtown West Palm Beach, or, better yet, an Imagineer at Disney!
14. What song do you have completely memorized?
a. Anything by Dave Matthews Band or Jimmy Buffett. I’m a Parrothead, born and raised, guilty as charged.
15. What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their life?
a. Travel to a foreign country. It doesn’t really matter where. I’ve been to poor countries and wealthy countries and learned so much from both. The experience of seeing how other people do things, or how much or little they have and still somehow manage to survive, thrive, and maybe even still find joy, really changes one’s perspective on life. Humans, in general, are very good at seeing others and judging them for being different. Maybe it is a survival mechanism. You’re different, so you stay over there. But I’ve found, that joy can be found in being more curious, asking questions of someone who does something different can change your perspective and maybe force you to learn something, God forbid. The opposite may happen as well, you may find yourself being more confident in the way you think or feel about something, and that is perfectly okay as well. As long as you are accepting of the other person, and don’t judge or criticize them for being different.
16. What is your favorite memory of GSOP?
a. Honduras and Belle Glade mission trips. Two of the best experiences of my life, and would definitely recommend to anyone!
17. What is something you thought you knew about the pharmacy profession, but it turns out it was different?
a.When I first started pharmacy school, I didn’t realize the profession was a lot more than just counting pills and filling prescriptions. There are so many other pathways you can take with a PharmD degree. I was interested in oncology, but didn’t realize I could specialize in that area and serve cancer patients as my career! Don’t get bogged down in worrying whether or not you’ll match for a residency or sign a contract at the community pharmacy in the geographic area you want to be. Also, if you start out in an area and decide it is not for you, there are so many other areas of the profession to explore. Just look at me! I was an oncology specialist and decided I wanted to make the jump to academia, and so far so good! Just keep working hard and everything will work out!
18. If your life were a movie, what would the title be? Who would play you?
a. The Little Engine That Could
b. Matthew McConaughey