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Husson University hosts pharmacy camp for high school students

The three-day summer camp gives students a chance to learn all about pursuing a career in pharmacy and what it's like living on a college campus.

BANGOR, Maine — Although school isn't in session, many students in Maine are taking advantage of more learning opportunities this summer. 

Husson University is hosting a three-day summer camp this week to give high school juniors and seniors a chance to learn more about careers in the field of pharmacy.

Students at the camp are learning lessons focused on lab skills, compounding, patient counseling, and information about pharmacy-related career paths. 

Kelsey Hope, a rising high school senior, says she learned about this camp through a STEM academy at her high school.

"I was interested in learning about pharmacy as a potential career option and I wanted to know more about it and what it would be like," Hope said.

The camp, sponsored by Hannaford, gives students a better idea of the many different career paths they can take within the field. Terri McLaughlin, regional pharmacy operations manager for Hannaford, said the pandemic highlighted the need for pharmacists. 

"We've been able to play a more important role and a more involved role in healthcare than we ever have before," McLaughlin said. 

The hands on experience provided at the camp is a fan-favorite among the students.

"Right now, we're making a like a lozenge, a lollipop, and we're doing it focusing on the drug clotrimazole," Tim Lessa, another rising high school senior, said. 

Lessa says the drug, which is just a placebo for this exercise, is commonly used to treat sore throats. He added he's also enjoying getting a taste of the college experience this week. Students in the camp have the chance to stay in the dorms and eat at the dining hall. 

"Living on campus is nice, spending a couple days getting the feel for it, exploring the campus around," Lessa said.

"Nobody really knows what a pharmacist does unless you've had the opportunity to do a job shadow or a rotation or something like that," McLaughlin added.

"It has been one of the most successful programs at Husson," Conrad Dhing, assistant dean of student affairs for Husson's School of Pharmacy, said.

The three-day camp wraps up on Wednesday. 

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