Camille Huo is first pharmacy student to win Co-op Student of the Year
Last month, Camille Huo, Rx2023, was recognized as the Co-op Student of the Year from the Faculty of Science. The award, one for each of the University of Waterloo’s six faculties, is given annually in recognition of a student who made exceptional contributions on a co-op work term.
“I feel so grateful,” Camille says. “I know there’s a lot of co-op students in the Faculty of Science. To win Co-op Student of the Year makes me feel very recognized for all the tasks I was able to accomplish at Pharmasave. I’m also grateful to represent the School of Pharmacy."
In the winter 2021 term, Camille worked as a pharmacy student at Toronto East Pharmasave, a teaching site for pharmacy interns, students, and technicians. The outpatient pharmacy is embedded inside Michael Garron Hospital.
“I hadn’t worked in a hospital pharmacy prior to co-op,” Camille says. “I was able to dip my toes into special, niche medications like Aranesp, dialysis medications, oral chemo and supportive care medications, iron infusions, and tuberculosis medications while on my work term.”
Each week, Camille reviewed a new group of medications with her supervisor and practiced counselling on each medication. Identifying additional needs, Camille took the initiative to develop documentation and presentations for patients, and her resources continue to be used in the pharmacy today.
Part way through her work term, COVID-19 vaccines became available. Camille took the opportunity to demonstrate leadership: at work, she helped schedule and coordinate the rollout of vaccinations at the Pharmasave, managed dose inventory and prepared syringes. From there, Camille scaled up – she supported the mass vaccine clinics at Michael Garron hospital and also got involved with Costco Pharmacy vaccine clinics.
“It was amazing to able to play a big role in the vaccine rollout during the pandemic,” she says. “I felt like I was able to put my skills to use and really contribute to society, even while just on co-op.”
After busy work days, Camille also dedicated time to supporting fellow students through leadership roles with both SOPhS and CAPSI. It was a hectic time, but Camille has no regrets about maintaining her commitments, and her work ethic led to her being invited back to Pharmasave after her work term ended. She joined the team part-time through the spring term and in May, she received her vaccine certification and was able to help administer doses.
“I wanted to see the vaccine efforts through after getting injection certified,” she says. “I had two other part-time jobs as well, but it was important for me to stay involved with the Pharmasave team because I felt such a strong connection to them.”
Camille is the first pharmacy student to be recognized with this award. She encourages other pharmacy students to stay positive throughout the job application process:
“This co-op term wasn’t my top choice, but reflecting on how far I’ve come, I see now that everything does happen for a reason,” she says. “Through this position, I was able to work with my amazing preceptor Amit, develop my counselling skills, overcome my imposter syndrome, and win Co-op Student of the Year!”
An open mind was key for Camille.
“Go into it with the mindset to learn and stay positive. If there’s one thing I learned from the pandemic, it’s that you can’t control your future – and it’s ok to not have everything planned out step by step.”