Charles Middleton during the 2023 P3 sendoff, in a Panther Profile frame

黑豹的轮廓是Q&A interviews that highlight Panthers of all stripes -- students, 教师, 工作人员, 校友, board members and anyone else in the campus community. 

Charles (Chuck) Middleton is a pharmacy doctoral candidate in the Class of 2024. 在ACPHS工作的六年里, he has been captain of the men's soccer team for three years, president of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists’ campus chapter and vice president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. After graduation, he will be a pharmacy resident at the VA Medical Center in Syracuse, New York.

He was chosen among a group of nominees by his class to be their student speaker at the 2024 Commencement.

What inspired you to give a graduation speech?

I thought it'd be a great way to kind of “wrap up.“这是我喜欢做的事情. I was a leader in a professional organization and on the soccer team. You give pregame talks at soccer games or you're leading a meeting at a professional organization.

One theme you plan to speak about is ACPHS’ tight-knit community. You graduated from a large public high school. 是什么吸引你来这个学校的?

I've always been interested in pursuing a career in health care. My mom and grandma were both nurse practitioners, so it's always been something in the back of my head. One of my friends from high school who is a couple of years older went to ACPHS, 他让我去看看.

I only applied to a few colleges – a large public school, a large private school and ACPHS. What drew me in was hearing that you don't feel like you're lost here. I've never been in a 400-person lecture, for instance.

It's knowing everybody around you and knowing that all these people are going through the same challenges. 在更大的学校, you really wouldn't get that same support system unless you found a tight group within the larger community.

You also plan to talk about the Class of 2024’s journey. What is the most important experience that defines you?

I don’t like mentioning it too much, because everyone else mentions it, but it was COVID.

My class in the pharmacy doctorate program (most of whom enrolled in Fall 2018) had to make two big changes. First, we’re in this groove of going to class. 我们知道什么时候该学习. Then all of a sudden, you’re home in your room studying all day, watching lectures. Then, suddenly, it switches, and you're totally in person.

The challenge associated with being online was not really having that human interaction. 上网会让你错过很多事情. 在我们的P1年(2020年秋季), it's your white coat ceremony; we were lucky to at least do an online version where we were in the student center, 我们的家人都在上网. We had an athletic banquet we weren’t able to do for a couple of years. 错过这些活动真令人难过.

Once things were back in person, most people were sick of being in their rooms. Some people chose to stay their room, but I was like, no, absolutely not. I thought of it as being a role model for some younger students who hadn't been able to be in person in class yet: let's show the younger class what the campus is all about.

You say in your speech outline that it’s a time of “unparalleled importance” for young professionals entering pharmacy and health sciences. 你是什么意思??

There's so much that’s new and so many new opportunities. 与此同时, you're seeing 工作人员 shortages – whether it's shortages in nursing, in pharmacies within the hospital and even in retail.

这是针对药剂师的, but there's so many new medications that are coming out right now, 无论是治疗糖尿病, 减肥, oncology medications and a lot of the biologics – your physician might not be as aware of that. That's a role that we have to be ready to step into, to answer these questions.

How has ACPHS helped you determine your career pursuits?

If you know you want to do health sciences, ACPHS is the perfect school. 就像我提到的,你有这样的社区. 还有你得到的训练.

I can speak more about the pharmacy skills – it really gives you a glimpse into what different fields within pharmacy would be like. 在技能实验室, 当你在医院工作的时候, 你在做静脉注射, you’re doing communication with providers at the hospital. In a different skills lab, it might be more retail focused or an ambulatory care setting.

我可以亲自做一些事情. It's obviously not right in the hospital, right in the pharmacy. But taking what I learned from those experiences – whether it’s “I have to do this better,”“我一点也不喜欢这个,” “I love doing this” – you can use it as a stepping stone.

Is there a particular thing you will leave the college with, that’s especially important to you?

ACPHS has provided me with relationships that I really don't think I would have gotten anywhere else. I've really been able to build that team around me, my best friends who I'm hoping I'll stay in touch with for the rest of my life.