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UPHARM Students

UPHARM Pilot - Class of 2015

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Flor Cortes

Born and raised in Chicago's Kelvyn Park neighborhood, Flor completed her Associates degree from Wilbur Write College, where she made the dean’s list and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. As a student at the College of Pharmacy and an active member of various student organizations, Flor Cortes, exemplifies the qualities of student leadership. Fluent in Spanish, while learning French and Polish, Flor hopes to take her health professional training as a Pharmacist back into the very communities from which she grew up in order to support the underserved.

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Courtney Sparkman

Cortney Sparkman was born and raised in the South Side of Chicago where she learned first hand about health disparities and how they effect minority communities.  She attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota and earned a History degree before deciding to pursue a Doctorate of Pharmacy at the University of Illlinois-College of Pharmacy.  Being a member of the pilot UPHARM Program, she was inspired by it to pursue a Masters in Public Health in addition to her Doctorate in Pharmacy. She hopes to one day utilize both degrees in addressing health disparities through Medication Therapy Management at both an individual as well as a population level.

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Nicole Gerardo

Nicole Gerardo was born in New Jersey, raised in San Diego, and received her Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry with a minor in Southeast Asian Studies at UCLA. Nicole found passion in healthcare through her studies and kept close to the community through her participation in student organizations and volunteer work at local high schools. She then went on to attend pharmacy school here at the UIC College of Pharmacy, continuing her work in the community through the pilot UPHARM program as well as pursuing a concurrent Masters of Public Health degree. Throughout her time at COP, she has participated in several organizations as well as holding several leadership positions, while at the same time pursuing academic excellence. Nicole hopes to continue serving the community in the future by providing pharmacy services that will aid the underprivileged both clinically and holistically.

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Albert Kusi

Albert Kusi was born and raised in Ghana and travelled to the US in pursuit of his academic dreams when he was 18 years old. Albert earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. While pursuing his Doctorate of Pharmacy at the UIC College of Pharmacy, Albert was a member of the pilot UPHARM program, which placed an emphasis on developing healthcare professional leaders focused on addressing the growing issue of healthcare disparities in the community.

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Everardo Mojica "Willy"

Born and raised in Albany Park which is located in the north side of Chicago. Willy attended Lane Tech College Prep High School. Followed by Loyola University Chicago as a Biology major and French minor. From an early age he knew he wanted to be in healthcare. He remembers serving as the translator for anyone in my immediate or extended family when it came to going to the doctor’s office or picking up medications at the pharmacy. As a result Willy began volunteering at a free health clinic called community health during his second year at Loyola as a Spanish interpreter. He believes that by working with underrepresented people through health literacy, many chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes can be avoided.  

UPHARM Class of 2018

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Laura Ayento

Born and raised in the Brighton Park neighborhood on Chicago’s south side, Laura noticed the financial, educational, and health disparities plaguing the underserved and minority populations in the city early in life. After coming face to face with harsh realities daily, Laura knew that eventually becoming a pharmacist could give these populations an opportunity for better health care as well as set an example for the younger generation. After receiving her Bachelor’s in Chemistry from DePaul University, Laura continued her education at UIC College of Pharmacy. She became involved in the UPharm program to not only specifically learn about the various health disparities oppressing these underserved populations, but to learn how to alleviate these burdens as well. 

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Cassandra Clermont 

Born and raised in Chicago, IL, a first-generation Haitian-American, fluent in Haitian Creole. While in high school, Cassandra participated in the Pathways to Pharmacy program where she became aware of healthcare disparities and how they largely affected minority populations. Being culturally aware of the challenges and barriers people face in managing their health, Cassandra wants to bridge the gap in helping people make better decisions when it comes to understanding the long term effects of their behavior. She has participated in a weight loss intervention study in Englewood.  She received her Bachelor’s in Human Nutrition with a minor in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Cassandra plans to give back to underserved communities through actively engagement, she wants to use her experiences from the UPharm Program to help her successfully educate others, motivate and challenge issues that lie in the most oppressed areas Chicagoland area.

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Carlos Jara-Garate 

Carlos was raised within the customs of a Hispanic culture whose central messages continue to keep him on a path towards a better tomorrow. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, including a minor emphasis in Biostatistics, from Loyola University Chicago. His education continues as he pursues his Doctor of Pharmacy degree with a concentration in Urban Pharmacy. Through his service in health care, he would like to help others understand a motto that he holds to be true, which is that the good we do to others complements the good we do to ourselves. With the knowledge he will acquire through the Urban Pharmacy Program, he aspires to develop into a professional leader to positively influence our health care system, in order to address the many challenges of health care disparities in underserved communities.

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April Quarles​

April Quarles completed her undergraduate studies at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN with a B.S. in Biology Education. Hailing from West Lafayette, IN, she joined Teach For America and accepted a position at West Gary Lighthouse Charter School CPA (WGLCS CPA) in Gary, IN as 9 & 10th grades Biology, Chemistry, and Health founding instructor. Upon completion of her assignment with WGLCS CPA, driven by her passion for educating and empowering others to make healthy decisions in their lives, April began pursuing the Doctorate of Pharmacy at UIC College of Pharmacy as well as a Master’s of Science degree in Biotechnology: Chemical Sciences at Roosevelt University. While at UIC College of Pharmacy, April joined UPHARM to gain knowledge of healthcare disparities within Chicagoland communities and urban communities in general as well as how to address and find solutions to these disparities. It is her dream to return to underserved communities to educate and empower its citizen in making wise, health-conscious decisions for them and the community as a whole.

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Victor Manuel Vazquez Cervantes 

Born in Mexico and raised in Chicago’s Humboldt Park.  He continued his education at Wilbur Wright College where he managed tutoring for the Pre-Pharmacy Association and then continued to tutor organic chemistry through the college. He is a proud DACA recipient which is provided to immigrant students in this country. He hopes to be a model for those other immigrant students by obtaining his PharmD through this institution that means much to him. Throughout his undergraduate years, Victor was involved in many community workshops and events that provided for people in need. He aims to further provide to his community through a longitudinal project as part of the UPharm program whose goal is to improve overall health in under served communities.

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Nicholas Wright-Hart

Nicholas Wright-Hart was born and raised in Englewood Chicago.  He completed the prerequisites for Pharmacy school at Purdue University Calumet. During his time at Purdue Calumet, he was an LSAMP scholar. This gave him the opportunity to research silylation of carbohydrates and present at the annual LSAMP research conference. Every summer he volunteers as a summer camp science teacher at Salvation Army. This is an affordable education based summer camp that is used primarily by African American high school students. Nicholas feels that his calling in life is to serve as a positive role model for young under represented minorities in underserved urban communities. This is why he is a part of the UPharm program. Through calibration with high school teachers, Nicholas and two other UPharm students will be working towards improving the health literacy of high school students in Englewood. He is excited about his future in pharmacy and more importantly his future in the underserved urban communities of Chicago
 

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