High school students explore pharmacy interests at summer camp

Diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at the age of two, Cambree Poole’s journey has been anything but ordinary. From enduring countless doctor appointments to rigorous treatment regimens, she has developed a deep understanding of the power of medications and the role pharmacists play in keeping people healthy. This unique perspective has not only shaped her resilience but inspired her to consider a career in pharmacy.

Cambree Poole
Cambree Poole, pictured right, helps her teammates during a team-building exercise.

“Since I learned to take medications at a very young age, it is all I have ever known,” Poole said. “As I have grown older, my appreciation has grown for pharmacists. These medical professionals have given me so much and provided me a way to live a normal life.”

The Live Oak, Florida native says without pharmacists she would not be able to walk around her school pain-free or enjoy playing sports with friends. In June, she was one of 24 high school seniors from around the state to participate in the University of Florida College of Pharmacy’s Gator Pharmacy Exploration Camp. The weeklong camp took place June 11-17 and featured dozens of activities designed to introduce high school students to the pharmacy profession and acclimate them to college life.

During the week, the campers toured local health care facilities and met with pharmacists working in different health care roles. They also learned how to administer immunizations, check blood sugar levels and familiarize themselves with the many ways pharmacists improve lives.

The camp also provided a preview of life on a college campus. The students stayed overnight in a dorm and ate meals in a dining hall. They competed in a scavenger hunt to find well-known landmarks around UF’s campus and concluded their week with a stadium tour and dinner at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Anthony Avello
Anthony Avello, pictured right, participates in one of the camp activities.

“It was the perfect balance between education and fun,” said Anthony Avello, a high school senior from Parkland, Florida. “The camp did an excellent job exposing us to all the different fields in pharmacy and some that I did not even know existed.”

Last year, Avello underwent a surgical procedure to remove a tumor from his lip. His inquisitive nature got the best of him, prompting him to delve deeper into understanding the medications he was given. The more he learned about pharmacy, the more he aspired to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

“Pharmacists have such a unique opportunity to make an impact on people,” Avello said. “Thinking about my life and how I want to impact the world, I want to leave a positive mark. That is why pharmacists are so important, as they save people’s lives and improve quality of life.”

To view photos from the 2023 Gator Pharmacy Exploration Camp, visit: https://ufcollegeofpharmacy.smugmug.com/GPEC-2023

Gator Pharmacy Exploration Camp
The UF College of Pharmacy’s Gator Pharmacy Exploration Camp hosted 24 high school students this year.