UH Hilo College of Pharmacy announces scholarship winners, faculty and preceptor awards

May 4, 2009

Pharmacy students at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo are receiving financial support from nine scholarships totaling more than $25,000. Several were announced at a luau held Saturday, May 2, attended by more than 200 University students, employees and supporters.

Criteria for the scholarships, awarded from individuals and corporations, are based on merit and financial need.

"Our students are some of the finest scholars I’ve ever seen, so the competition is tough for these awards," said Dr. John Pezzuto, dean, College of Pharmacy. "We’re grateful to the community for this generous show of faith in supporting pharmacy students as we strive to improve healthcare in Hawaiʻi."

Students awarded scholarships for 2009-2010 are:

  • Second-year students Amber Duncan, Phoenix, AZ, Adrienne Au, Honolulu, HI, Curtis Start, Kalamazoo, MI, Rochelle Oledzki, Valparaiso, IN, and first-year student Daniel Hu, Kurtistown, HI, were awarded the Target Scholarship, given to students interested in retail pharmacy who have evidence of community service and leadership potential.
  • Marisa Kellett, Kaneohe, HI, a first-year student, won the Walgreens Diversity Scholarship, which is awarded to students who have made efforts toward raising awareness or educating others about diversity in the pharmacy profession.
  • First-year student Megan Venegas, Hilo, HI, and second-year Cari Niimi, Mountain View, HI, won the Haga Family Endowed Scholarship, which is intended to help Big Island high school graduates.
  • Rovigel Gelviro, second-year- student, Alexandria, VA, received the Good Neighbor Pharmacy Scholarship, which helps students who intend to practice in independent community pharmacies with a desire to own their own store.
  • Natalie Codianne, Hilo, HI, Jessica Toyama, Aiea, HI, Carol Lynn Goo, Honolulu, HI and Richelle Hirata, Honolulu, HI, were awarded the UH Hilo Achievement Scholarships.

Previous winners of pharmacy scholarships were:

  • Natalie Codianne and Ryan Mashiyama, Hilo, HI, won the UH Hilo Achievement Scholarships in 2008-2009. Also in 2008-2009, Ellen Loney, Kula, HI, won the "Tradition of Caring" scholarship from Longs Drugs, which was awarded to a student interested in retail setting practice.
  • Rochelle Oledzki, Jessica Toyama and Quinn Taira, Honolulu, HI, won the Wal-Mart Scholarship in 2007-2008. All were first-year students at the time of the award, which was given to students with the ability to lead and the desire to enter community practice.

Scholarships yet to be awarded are the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation Pharmacy Partners Scholarship, which is awarded to students with an interest in pursuing a career in community pharmacy, and the J.M. Long Foundation Pharmacy Scholarship, which helps students who plan to practice in a retail community setting.

Other announcements at the luau named "Preceptor of the Year" and "Faculty of the Year" awards.

"Preceptor of the Year" went to Dr. Nelson Nako, director of Hilo Medical Center. A preceptor is a professional pharmacist who is trained to mentor students while they earn their doctorate in pharmacy.

"On behalf of his more than 900 colleagues at Hilo Medical Center, I congratulate Nelson Nako for being named Preceptor of the Year," said Howard Ainsley, East Hawaiʻi Regional CEO of Hawaiʻi Health Systems Corporation. "Nelson has been a valued pharmacist at Hilo Medical Center for more than 24 years. I thank him for sharing his wisdom with the students of Hilo’s own College of Pharmacy and I wish him all the best in continuing to help producing quality pharmacists for our state."

First-year students voted Mimi Pezzuto and Dr. Ken Morris as "Faculty of the Year" and second-year students voted Dr. Scott Holuby and Dr. Daniela Gundisch as "Faculty of the Year."

The UH Hilo College of Pharmacy, established in 2007, is the only school in the Pacific region to offer a doctorate in pharmacy degree. The degree, also called a Pharm.D., is a professional degree requiring four years of study after completion of at least two years in a pre-pharmacy program from an accredited college or university.

A Pharm.D. from UH Hilo prepares students for a career in pharmacy by providing a diverse academic environment while offering real-life experience in clinical and retail settings.

For more information about the College of Pharmacy, call (808) 933-2909 or email pharmacy@hawaii.edu.

See more news from 2009.