URI double major makes getting an education a global experience

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Huntington Station, N.Y. resident earned degrees May 17 from URI

KINGSTON, R.I. – May 20, 2009 – University of Rhode Island pharmacy graduate and French major Mei Ka Fong has seen the world during her time at URI.

Fong is a resident of Huntington Station, N.Y. but was born in Macau, a region of southern China that was a Portuguese colony until 1999. She has been a globetrotter much of her life, spending time as a pharmacy intern in France, volunteering at a medical clinic in the Dominican Republic, and teaching English to children in Panama.

Aside from the clinical experience she gained in France, much of Fong’s traveling has been an offshoot of her church involvement. Fong is a member of the Long Island Alliance Church in Dix Hills, N.Y.

The pharmacy program at URI is very demanding and Fong said practicing her skills helped keep her motivated. She said a January church trip to the Dominican Republic strengthened her love of pharmacy. The group included a medical outreach team, which she was able to be a part of.

“I was able to help people and counsel them, all because I knew the medications. Doctors were asking me for my input and I really felt like part of the team,” said Fong. “It showed me what I was studying for. It was an eye-opening experience.”

Fong said that her greatest accomplishment at URI will be graduating May 17 with a double major, as she will leave URI with a doctor of pharmacy degree, a bachelor’s degree in French, and a 3.7 grade point average.

She is a member of Rho Chi, the pharmacy honor society, Phi Beta Kappa, a liberal arts honor society, and Pi Delta Phi, the national French honor society. She has also received the Excellence in French Studies Award from the URI Language Department. Fong was awarded numerous scholarships as well, including a Centennial Scholarship from URI, a CVS scholarship, and a URI College of Pharmacy scholarship.

Fong has been highly involved with URI’s chapter of the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. The group is a multi-denominational community of students trying to live out the teachings and example of Jesus through worship, scripture study, fellowship, and service. The Long Island resident served as president of the group for a year and has been actively involved in the group’s committees and fundraising efforts.

“Intervarsity was like a stress-reliever for me,” said Fong. “It really broke up the week nicely for me and gave me a break from studying.”

Fong said that the URI College of Pharmacy has given her the knowledge and experience necessary to succeed in the professional world of pharmacy. “I have the knowledge, and more than anything you need the knowledge,” said Fong. “They also stress internship experience throughout the curriculum. The six years is full of clinical experience and you are really applying the stuff you learn.”

After graduation, Fong will complete a one-year residency at the Veterans Health Administration Medical Center in Northport, N.Y. After that, she wants to become a clinical pharmacist or work in ambulatory care because she enjoys working directly with patients. “I love counseling. That is one of the things I learned on my clinical rotations,” said Fong. “I love counseling patients. I love talking to them.”

Pictured above

New URI graduate Mei Ka Fong of Huntington Station, N.Y. URI Department of Communications and Marketing photo by Nora Lewis