South Dakota State University pharmacy student Abigail Sirek, of New Prague, Minnesota, has received a prestigious national scholarship through the Kappa Epsilon pharmacy fraternity.
Sirek is one of five recipients of the $750 Zada M. Cooper Scholarship for 2020. She is the 21st SDSU pharmacy student to receive the award in its 63-year history, two in the first 31 years and 19 in the last 33 years. The organization was founded by Cooper in 1921 to unite female pharmacy students. Today it has 43 chapters initiating female and male members.
Sirek has been involved in Kappa Epsilon since fall 2017, her first year in the professional pharmacy program. She has served as education committee co-chair, new member recruiter and alumni liaison for the chapter, which currently has 30 members in the professional pharmacy program and another 45 pre-pharmacy members.
Another area Sirek has been involved in the last two years is serving with Professor Sharrel Pinto on diabetes, heart disease and stroke prevention program.
It is a five-year, federally funded program aimed at improving medication adherence and increasing the role of the pharmacist in a patient’s health care. The first year of the program focused on gaining an understanding of the barriers and facilitators to care of patients with those ailments. Interviews were conducted with patients, practitioners and third-party payers. view cardio-vascular diseases.
Sirek has been working on developing new patient education tools that will be distributed to pharmacies throughout South Dakota.
In March, she will join others from the College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions at the American Pharmacists Association conference in National Harbor, Maryland, to give a poster presentation on results from the analyzed patient interviews. Data collected on the patients’ life story, including how they were diagnosed, their access to health care and how pharmacists could be more involved in their health care, will be presented in Sirek’s poster.
Sirek earned an associate degree along with her high school diploma and completed one year of pre-pharmacy education before beginning her pharmacy schooling. She graduated in May 2019 with her bachelor’s degree in pharmacy with a 3.6 GPA. She is on the dean’s list with 1 1/2 years of graduate schooling left before completing her doctor of pharmacy degree.
Following that, Sirek is considering a postgraduate residency in ambulatory pharmacy or working in community pharmacy with an interest in expanding the community pharmacist’s role in patient care.