Commencement 2015: URI pharmacy student has big impact across campus

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KINGSTON, R.I.– April 22, 2015– Anyone who walks through the pharmacy building or almost anywhere else on the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston campus with Lanh Dang better be prepared to stop so she can greet friends, professors and staff.

That’s because the driven sixth-year doctor of pharmacy student with the infectious smile and engaging manner has been involved in so many campus activities that it takes six pages to summarize them all.

It’s a good bet that when she earns her degree at URI’s commencement on May 17, many people are going to be reluctant to say goodbye.

Six years ago, Dang was in search of the best university fit for her. Dang always knew she wanted to do something in the medical field, but it was her homeroom teacher, Chuck Adamopoulos, at her high school in Lawrence, Mass. who nudged her toward the URI College of Pharmacy.

“My high school homeroom teacher was a URI alumnus and when I told him I had applied to URI and its pharmacy program, he told me to not pass up the opportunity. He told me URI’s pharmacy program was one of the best programs in the northeast,” Dang said.

“When I toured (the Kingston) campus, I immediately felt like I was home. I clearly remember walking around the quad and thinking I can see myself here.”

Once on campus, she realized the best way to become engaged was to become involved in community service.

Within the College of Pharmacy, Dang worked at the Office of Student Affairs, where she assisted the student coordinator and associate dean with administrative tasks and trained pharmacy students for URI Welcome Days and recruitment.

As part of her pharmacy rotations, she made two presentations on medication adherence and health care access at the annual convention of the National Community Pharmacists Association in California in December 2014.

Dang was a member of the pharmacy honors society, Rho Chi, and the pharmacy leadership society, Phi Lambda Sigma. She served on the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) executive board as the vice president, historian, and social chair.

Dang also has been a member of the Clearinghouse for Volunteers and a leader in the Civic Engagement Leadership program at URI.

Dang’s deep interest in the Civic Engagement program led to her being asked by Sarah Miller, Feinstein Civic Engagement Program coordinator, to help Miller manage weekend community service events. She remained an assistant weekend coordinator for two years before becoming a teaching assistant for the civic engagement class until Fall 2013.

“As an intern, I learned how to organize, mentor, and motivate a small group of leaders to manage their own service projects,” said Dang, adding that she co-coordinated the first Rhode Island Alternative Spring Break trip benefiting Rhode Island non-profit organizations. “I helped bring together 15 students who logged more than 300 hours of collective service during the 2012 and 2013 spring breaks.”

That service resulted in her being awarded the Robert L. Carothers Servant Leadership Award, a part of the 2014 Rainville Awards.

In addition to earning her doctor of pharmacy degree and piling up a lifetime of service work in just 6 years, Dang will also earn an honors minor.

“I applied to the Honors Program because I really liked the senior project aspect where I could work on a project of my choice. I love pharmacy, but I like to dabble in everything to see what I am interested in. Being able to do something outside of my major was very enticing for me.”

Despite all of her activities, she did have a social life, and a major part of that was what she called “adventures with food. A self-described “foodie,” she travels across Rhode Island with her friends to try new dining places.

“We try to never eat at a place twice and we are always expanding our choices,” she said. “Aside from all the incredible organizational, communication, and leadership skills I gained from all of these experiences, I also made lifelong friendships and surrounded myself with passionate and inspirational people that motivated me to become my best self.”

She will pursue a post-graduate pharmacy residency in the area of ambulatory care at the University of Florida Health Jacksonville.” I hope to become a pharmacy professor so I can mentor and inspire future students the way I have been inspired by my own professors and mentors.

“Coming to the University of Rhode Island,” Dang said, “ I thought I would gain a PharmD degree and walk away from URI with memories of long nights studying and occasional beach days. But URI has given me so much more. I found my passions for pharmacy and community service. I was really able to grow as an individual while surrounding myself with some of the most caring people I have ever met.”

This release was written by, Rachel Smith, a graduate assistant for the Marketing and Communications Department.

Pictured above

Lanh Dang a PharmD graduate and Honors Program student class of 2016.

Lanh Dang displays her lab coat with one of her many CELS T-shirts.

Lanh Dang in at CVS practice lab in Pharmacy Building for College of Pharmacy.

Photos by Nora Lewis.