Commencement 2016: Rutland, VT resident to graduate from URI with a love of pharmacy, teaching

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Played field hockey for Rhody for 4 years

KINGSTON, R.I.– May 3, 2016– From the moment Kelsey Norman, of Rutland, Vermont visited the University of Rhode Island, she felt it was an instant fit. “I had met the faculty and people on campus, and thought there was a great vibe, then someone suggested we visit the Narragansett area which solidified my decision,” said Norman.

Now, as commencement looms on May 22, Norman calls URI her second home, a place where she pushed herself academically, forged deep friendships on the field hockey team, and helped dozens of students at the University’s Academic Enhancement Center.

She will cap her six years at URI when she earns her doctor of pharmacy degree with thousands of other graduates.

As if the six-year pharmacy program and her student involvement haven’t been enough, she is also completing a minor in biology. Some might get a chuckle at her characterization of biology as an enjoyable alternative to pharmacy.

As part of her final year of the pharmacy program, Norman conducted research at the Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Providence and presented posters on her work at the veterans’ hospital and a meeting of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists in New Orleans.

“Both of my presentations on heart failure were developed from original research I conducted with a classmate, Monica Dougherty, while at the Providence VA Medical Center,” Norman said. “Our rotation was centered in a heart failure ambulatory care clinic. We studied several newly implemented interventions to determine if they helped reduce hospitalizations in a cohort of patients with heart failure.”

She worked under Tracey Taveira, clinical professor of pharmacy at URI, a clinical pharmacist at the veterans’ hospital and student preceptor.

“All of the professors in the URI program have been so impactful,” said Norman. “But, Dr. Taveira’s rotation helped solidify my decision to do a residency in a Veterans Administration health care facility.”

Norman said that Taveira challenged her and her fellow students, holding them to high standards so they would develop a solid foundation.

“I get complimented on my technique and performance and I know it is because of that experience. Dr. Taveira was incredible to work under, and very understanding. Her emphasis is on family and career and I resonated with that,” said Norman.

After she graduates, Norman will begin a pharmacy residency at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System in Ann Arbor, MI.

Norman’s parents have been completely supportive throughout her years at URI, allowing her to pursue her career path, interest in teaching and her love of field hockey.

Norman played four years on URI’s club field hockey team and also served as president in her fourth year.

Not only did she meet influential people and forge strong friendships, but she also traveled to Maryland to attend the National Field Hockey League annual meeting so that URI’s team would continue to be a nationally recognized club team.

“I had great networking opportunities and was able to work with members of other clubs from around the country to set up the schedule for the season,” Norman said.

“It was challenging balancing academics and field hockey, but the organization was an outlet for me and kept me motivated to stay at URI during my first year as I adjusted to a new environment where I didn’t know anyone,” said Norman.

During her six years, Norman also realized she loved teaching and pharmacy. So she combined the two and worked at the Academic Enhancement Center.

“People at the center became like a family to me when I became a biology and chemistry tutor,” she said. “I eventually became an academic coach and supplemental instruction program assistant.”

She also became a coach for academic skills and success in the Office of New Student Programs.

When she drives through the granite gates on Upper College Road after commencement, Norman will probably be thinking of her close friends, influential professors and the beautiful campus environment.

“The thing that I will miss most about URI is probably the campus and the area surrounding the campus,” she said. “Narragansett in particular has been a home away from home over the past 6 years and I always looked forward to returning in the fall. Growing up in Vermont we would always take vacations to the beach, so the ability to live just down the road from so many beaches is definitely something that I will miss.”

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

Photo by Nora Lewis