Waterloo student awarded prestigious Ontario Pharmacist Association Student of Distinction Award

Each year, the Ontario Pharmacist Association (OPA) Student of Distinction Award recognizes one exceptional student province-wide. Waterloo’s very own Jenn MacKenzie, a fourth-year Pharmacy student, took home the accolade for 2016.

Jen MacKenzie

First introduced in 2000, the Student of Distinction Award is presented to one pharmacy student that has “gone above and beyond” for their patients. In order to qualify for the award, students must be a member of the OPA and receive a nomination from a colleague. The OPA considers every nomination, and presents their final decision at the annual conference

Jenn credits her co-op work experience with giving her insight into the value of advocating for patient care, and for instilling in her a strong appreciation of professionalism – something that she has been eager to share with fellow students.

This award means that all the support I’ve gotten from my friends and colleagues has shaped me into something that they can trust as a leader in this profession, which is truly humbling

As a past-president of the Society of Pharmacy Students (SOPhS), Jenn was very active in a number of community projects. In 2015, Jenn founded the Student Professional Recognition Committee, which set out to celebrate exceptional professionalism among her peers, while also addressing questionable behaviour that jeopardizes the pharmacists’ honour code.

Today, Jenn remains a chair of the SOPhS, but also commits a lot of her time to initiatives close to her heart. She helped organize the Ontario Pharmacy Students Integrative Summit for two years, served as a University of Waterloo student ambassador and Rx2016 recruitment director, and had been a member of the graduation committee, Pharmacy Investment Club, Pharmacy Counseling Group, Drug Information Club, and Journal Club.

“I jumped at every opportunity that presented itself,” Jenn explained, “but that meant I didn’t have a lot of free time.

I was forced to learn time management skills, so I started using agendas and had calendars everywhere from my desk to my phone and computer. I was able to juggle meetings, events, projects, extra-curricular activities, schoolwork, and friends by doing this. I loved being involved, so to me, learning time management skills was key and something that cannot be taught in a classroom.

Jenn encourages others to follow in her footsteps and pursue their passion, regardless of what that may be:

Push yourself out of your comfort zone, get out there and meet new people. Do the things that make you happy, chase your dreams and have fun along the way.

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