URI student happily leans on her “pharmacy family” during six joyful years in college

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KINGSTON, RI – April 29, 2014 – Family ties helped Alev Gulum get through the University of Rhode Island, but not the kind most people think of. It was her “pharmacy family” that pulled her through a rigorous six-year program that could land her a job this summer.

“Pharmacy school is difficult and I absolutely could not have done it without the help and support of my friends,” says Gulum. “From learning together to socializing together, we’ve come together as a small pharmacy family.”

Born on Smithtown, N.Y., Gulum learned about URI’s excellent pharmacy program from a neighbor. A visit to campus was all it took to seal the deal. “When I visited URI for the first time and walked across the quad on a sunny afternoon, I knew this would be my home for the next six years.”

The quaint campus was a perfect fit. “Even though it is considered a middle-sized school, the pharmacy program felt like a small family, and I loved becoming involved both in the program and on campus,” she says.

Over the years, she has distinguished herself on and off campus.

She served two terms as an academic liaison between the College of Pharmacy and the URI Student Senate. She was vice president and secretary of Phi Lambda Sigma, recording secretary and community service chair for Lambda Kappa Sigma, fundraising chair for the American Society of Health System Pharmacists, and student leadership council representative for Phi Lambda Sigma.

Volunteering is her other passion. She participated in the Making Strides Breast Cancer Walk at Roger Williams Park in Providence; volunteered at the Welcome House of South County; and made holiday baskets for children at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. She also volunteered for the Adopt-A-Family program and South Bay Manor in North Kingstown.

Gulum was selected for a two-year Veterans Affairs Learning Opportunity Residency Internship during the summers of 2012 and 2013. There, she worked for the Veterans Health Administration in pharmacy benefits management. She was awarded the Ron and Karen Jordan Endowed Scholarship.

She also helped out on two research projects involving magnesium intake and heart failure. “My final year is entirely dedicated to hands-on professional experience,” Gulum says.

After graduation, Gulum will pursue her post-graduate residency at the Veterans Affairs Tennessee Valley Healthcare System in Nashville, Tenn. “My dream is to become a clinical pharmacist at a veteran’s affairs hospital and to specialize in oncology pharmacy. I also hope to be a professor at a college of pharmacy, where I can take an active role in training students in my areas of clinical practice.”

She praises URI for its rigorous academics and life-changing internships. “URI’s College of Pharmacy does an amazing job training students to take on clinical positions, whether it’s through mock interviews, helping us with publications or assisting us in developing our clinical knowledge,” she says.

Recently, she moved to East Providence to live with URI friends, also in the pharmacy program. “We have been best friends since freshman year,” she says. She thinks of them as her “pharmacy family.”

This press release was written by Sylvia Bogusz, a Communication Studies and Italian double major interning in the Department of Marketing and Communications.