Alabama School of Math and Science senior Kimberly Chieh interned this fall with Robert Smith, director of pharmacy at the University of South Alabama (USA) Children’s and Women’s Hospital.
“I was the first high school student to ever intern for the hospital’s pharmacy, and it has been an amazing experience,” Chieh says. “Especially in a time where there’s so much pressure to know what you want in life, an internship can be a nice break from all of that, where you can discover what you like at your own pace. It’s like the free trial version to the paid subscription.”
Chieh plans on majoring in biology/public health and becoming either a clinical pharmacist or an epidemiologist, and ultimately work for the CDC. Chieh is a National Merit Semifinalist and scored a perfect 36 on the ACT as a junior.
Because Chieh earned her pharmacy technician license this past summer, she was able to perform the same tasks as the other technicians in the hospital during her internship.
“I was able to fill prescriptions, unit dose medications, and perform floor cart refills,” Chieh says. “I’ve performed two research projects where I compiled a list of the major drug interactions and assess the risks of handling certain hazardous drugs.”
Chieh says she not only gained working experience, but was able learn how to work alongside professionals in a fast-paced environment.
“I wanted real experience in the career field I was looking into – there’s only so much a job description can give you, and I really think that you need to see the responsibilities and smaller aspects of a job that people don’t know about first hand,” Chieh says. “My internship has further reinforced pharmacy as one of my career options in the future, and definitely solidified my decision to work in the health care field.”