Sunshine State Success: UF College of Pharmacy students shine at APhA Annual Meeting in Orlando

The American Pharmacists Association, or APhA, staged its 2024 Annual Meeting and Exposition in Orlando, Florida, March 22-25, and the University of Florida College of Pharmacy seized the spotlight by winning several national student awards.

The UF APhA-ASP chapter took home first-place honors nationally in the Operation Reproductive Health category.

The UF chapter of the APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists, or APhA-ASP, took home first-place honors nationally in the Operation Reproductive Health category. As part of Operation Reproductive Health, student pharmacists reach out to their communities to provide health and wellness services focused on improving cancer prevention through Human Papillomavirus vaccination and improving reproductive and sexual health education. Throughout the year, UF student pharmacists participated in health fairs and partnered with community health organizations such as the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance, the Breast Cancer Foundation and Blossoming Butterfly to raise money and awareness for reproductive health.

“Winning the APhA-ASP national Operation Reproductive Health award speaks to the incredible work done by the student pharmacists across all three campuses,” said Kendrick Panoch, a third-year student pharmacist and APhA-ASP chapter president at the UF College of Pharmacy’s Jacksonville campus. “Attending the awards ceremony, where the achievements of student pharmacists across the nation are celebrated, reminds me of the tremendous impact we have in our communities.”

For the second consecutive year, the UF APhA-ASP chapter won the Back the PAC competition for Division A. This annual competition challenges chapters across the nation to raise funds for APhA’s Political Action Committee, which supports pro-pharmacy candidates for federal office and educates student pharmacists on the importance of active political engagement. The UF chapter also won the Region 3 Operation Heart Award for its community engagement efforts to lower the risk of heart disease.

Nicole Sandoval

Nicole Sandoval, a third-year student at the Gainesville campus, was elected to the five-member APhA-ASP National Executive Committee. She will serve as a National Member-at-large in representing the professional society during the next year. As an executive committee member, she will uphold the organization’s bylaws, vision, mission and goals, maintain communication with local APhA-ASP chapters and attend all executive meetings. Sandoval currently serves as president of the Gainesville APhA-ASP chapter.

“To win a national election and assume the role of APhA-ASP National Member-at-large is an immense honor and privilege,” Sandoval said. “Having been involved with APhA-ASP since my early years as a student pharmacist, this opportunity allows me to continue my journey of service and advocacy within the organization. It signifies a mandate from student pharmacists nationwide to uphold APhA’s standards and advance the future of pharmacy. I am committed to representing their interests and contributing to the growth and success of our profession.”

Valeria Garcia
Valeria Garcia

Valeria Garcia, a third-year student at the Gainesville campus, was appointed to the National Member Engagement Standing Committee. The six-member committee leverages the benefits of student membership to promote a positive experience and help recruit new student pharmacist members across the nation. Each member assumes an operations assignment and guides the APhA-ASP chapters on materials, outreach efforts and executing the goals of the operation.

“This leadership position is a full circle moment and time for me to give back to an organization that gave me a platform,” Garcia said. “I am beyond honored and grateful for the opportunity to help other chapters throughout the country and continue to develop my leadership skills.”

The 2025 APhA Annual Meeting and Exposition will take place March 21-24 in Nashville, Tennessee.

UF APhA-ASP in Orlando 2024