MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Instead of sleeping in or hanging out with friends, it will be an early Saturday for one group of high school students as they will be able to experience what it would be like attending West Virginia University and taking classes at the WVU School of Pharmacy.  

Students in Upward Bound/TRIO – a program that serves youth from Clay-Batelle, Grafton and Preston County high schools who are academically at risk or may be the first in their family to pursue higher education – will gather from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 16, at the WVU Health Sciences Center to learn about the importance of a college education and careers in health sciences.

WVU student pharmacists have planned a full day of presentations and activities specially designed for the group.

“The overall goal of our activity is to help the students of Upward Bound get a better grasp of what pharmacy and other health sciences schooling demands,” Eric Likar, second-year WVU student pharmacist from Penn Township, Pa., said. “Our project group members are proud to be student pharmacists, and we are excited to work with Upward Bound and share our journey of what we went through to get to where we are. We hope that we help impact the students’ lives by working with them to better prepare for college.”

Sixty Upward Bound students will participate in Saturday’s activity. The morning session will provide the participants with presentations on health topics. The afternoon session will lead the students through a health sciences education crash course on tuition, time management, class selection, study habits, as well as participating in lab activities student pharmacists would have in class.

“We worked with the director of Upward Bound to decide what types of presentations and activities the students would like to have and what the director felt they needed,” Likar said. “Our morning and lunch sessions will focus on health presentations teaching the students that healthy choices and behaviors now can make a difference on their health and educational path in the future. In our afternoon sessions, we will give the Upward Bound students a taste of what it is like to be a student pharmacist through participation in activities that help us learn and apply our skills.”

Franchesca Nestor, West Virginia campus contact director for Upward Bound, is very excited about working with the WVU student pharmacists on the project.

“The health information the WVU School of Pharmacy students will provide to Upward Bound youth will not only be a valuable educational experience for the participants but also for the students themselves as they combine academic learning with real-world implications,” Nestor said. “The series of workshops on health issues will provide youth in our community with important information they might not have otherwise, and keeping communities healthy helps ensure long-term positive outcomes for everyone.”

The WVU student pharmacists were partnered with the Upward Bound program through a grant from the WVU Center for Civic Engagement. The $5,000 grant, made possible by the Campus-Community Link project, will help fund the activities for the day.

“The grant we received through the WVU Center for Civic Engagement truly served as the backbone to our activity,” Likar said. “We are providing the transportation for the students who are located all across the state. Throughout the day, Upward Bound students will receive scientific calculators and USB drives. We feel that these two educational tools are vital for a college student, and we want Upward Bound students to be prepared in every way possible.”

Upward Bound is a U.S. Department of Education TRIO-funded outreach program designed for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. The program serves high school students who will be the first in their families to receive a four-year college degree. The program also serves those students whose family income is at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty line. Upward Bound’s main goals are to increase graduation rates by helping students overcome the academic, social and cultural barriers associated with earning a college degree.

The student pharmacists were partnered with Upward Bound through the WVU Center for Civic Engagement for their Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience course, which promotes service to the community.

For more information about the WVU School of Pharmacy, visit

Editor’s Note: The best opportunity for photographs and video will be at 1:00 p.m., but you are more than welcome to attend earlier. Please contact Amy Newton in advance.

Schedule of events for Saturday, March 16:
10-11:30 a.m.: Health topics presentation; 11:30-12:15: Lunch; 12:15-1 p.m.: Discussion with Health Sciences students (courses, finances, time management); 1-3 p.m. Pharmacy compounding lab making lip balm and tour of WV STEPS Center, where students will interact with mannequins in healthcare situation simulations (Upward Bound students will be divided into two groups. One activity will be from 1-2 p.m., and then the groups will switch activities from 2-3 p.m.)
For more information: Amy Newton, School of Pharmacy, 304-293-7192
an: 03-11-13