Smith Combines Research and Practice in New Program

Warren Smith is among the first three students to pursue HSOP's Pharm.D/Ph.D program.

Dec. 16, 2015

By Samantha Taylor

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – When it comes to education, some students challenge themselves to do more than the status quo. Warren Smith is one of those. A second-year student in HSOP’s Pharm.D. program, he is taking advantage of a new offering: a Pharm.D./Ph.D track.

The program allows students who want to complete their degree in pharmacy while also working towards their Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences. For Smith, though, he did not always have his eyes set on pharmacy school, let alone a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences.

Originally from Tallassee, Alabama, he was accepted to Auburn and awarded a scholarship to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering during his junior year of high school. Because his natural talents in mathematics and the work he was doing in robotics at his father’s company, Smith anticipated engineering to be the route for him.

“During the summer of 2010, I was given the opportunity to start working as a technician in a retail pharmacy,” said Smith. “At that point in my life, I had never thought about a career in pharmacy, and it was nothing more than just a job.”

After about a month, Smith felt a shift in interest and became intrigued by the medications he was handling and the patients he was serving. Before starting his courses in mechanical engineering, he switched to the pre-pharmacy program and started pharmacy school in the Fall of 2014.

“After working for almost five years in a retail pharmacy, I began to realize that I would be of much greater service to patients and have a greater impact on the medical community through a valuable investment in the pursuit of research and research-centered education.” said Smith.

He is now under the supervision of Dr. Vishnu Suppiramaniam and working on multiple projects, one of which includes the assessment of adiponectin in cognitive function with fellow Pharm.D./Ph.D. student Jenna Bloemer.

Typically, students are accepted to the dual program after their first year in pharmacy school. While enrolled in the Pharm.D. program, students can configure their first three years’ coursework with their coursework in the Ph.D. program. Classes can overlap in a variety of areas so that their course load is lighter when they come back and finish their Ph.D.

The program is designed to allow students to lessen the amount of time they spend in school while being able to acquire both degrees.

Still new in the program, Smith is already picking up accolades for his work. He was also named an Express Scripts Scholar by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). He is one of only four recipients in the nation to receive the $10,000 scholarship, which is awarded to students who are in a dual degree program. 

“Being awarded this scholarship will allow me to keep serving the underserved, keep doing the things I love to do, with more financial security, all while paying forward the opportunities that AACP's Express Scripts Scholar Program and Harrison School of Pharmacy have so graciously granted me,” said Smith.

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About the Harrison School of Pharmacy
Auburn University’s Harrison School of Pharmacy is ranked among the top 20 percent of all pharmacy schools in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. Fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), the School offers doctoral degrees in pharmacy (Pharm.D.) and pharmaceutical sciences (Ph.D.) while also offering a master’s in pharmaceutical sciences. In 2014, the school adopted the slogan, “Making Medications Work Through Innovative Research, Education and Patient Care.” For more information about the School, please call 334.844.8348 or visit http://pharmacy.auburn.edu.

Last Updated: December 16, 2015