When Madeline Gutta attended her first Student College of Clinical Pharmacy meeting, she didn’t consider the larger journey she was beginning.
Two years later, that journey placed Gutta at a global conference in San Francisco, where she gave a presentation to hundreds about the success of that same UToledo organization.
The third-year doctor of pharmacy student, who also is pursuing a master of business degree, joined the group in her first year of pharmacy school and soon became president of the UToledo chapter of the Student College of Clinical Pharmacy (SCCP).
“After some encouragement from the then-current executive board of SCCP, I decided to run for president-elect,” Gutta said. “The plan was to learn from the current president for a year, then take over; however, due to unforeseen circumstances, I became president a year early. The other executive board members and our advisor were crucial to helping me figure out how to run a successful organization.”
The heart of SCCP, Gutta said, is preparing students for their pharmacy careers through professional development. The organization does this through its focus on patient care, education, pharmacy advocacy, clinical research and interprofessionalism.
“As president, I reach out to pharmacists from various clinical areas that our members are interested in, such as infectious disease or cardiology, to speak to our students about their different careers in pharmacy,” she said. “As an executive board, we also run various events for students to learn and grow as pharmacists, such as a residency panel and research symposium.”
Gutta and her executive team’s work did not go unnoticed.
Their student organization won the 2022 Outstanding Student Chapter Award for their national organization, the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP).
“Out of all the student chapters in the country, our chapter won this award,” she said. “It is exciting both for our SCCP chapter as well as the College of Pharmacy at UT. My advisor and I received an email with the news on the first day of fall semester, and we met shortly after to discuss the logistics of traveling to and presenting at the conference. I am very appreciative of the College of Pharmacy for their financial support.”
In October, Gutta flew to San Francisco to accept the award on behalf of the chapter with executive board member Alana Knapke. She also was invited to speak at the 2022 ACCP Global Conference on Clinical Pharmacy about their work.
“I was honored to represent UT’s chapter of SCCP at the conference and to meet with other students in ACCP. The presentation Alana and I gave was a showcase of what we had done as a chapter,” she explained. “We framed it as a discussion of how we have experienced success, and how students could run these events in their own organizations.”
Gutta said she is grateful for the guidance of the group’s advisor, Dr. Julie Murphy, associate dean for Accreditation Compliance and Assistant Professor, in her development as a leader and as a student pharmacist.
“Dr. Murphy has been my academic advisor since I started at UT, and it has been a great experience to work with her in a professional organization,” Gutta said. “She has taught me so much about being professional, running meetings and managing an executive board.”
The connection that Gutta built with her professors and faculty members has been pivotal in her experience at UToledo.
“I know I’m not just another face in the crowd here,” she said. “The faculty are extremely welcoming; they will say hello to me when I see them outside of class, and they still ask me about my older sister who graduated a few years ago.”
Murphy said she has watched as Gutta “has blossomed into a confident leader.”
“The first time we met, she was quite timid; she would have very short responses to any of my questions,” Murphy said. “In October I observed her deliver a presentation at a national conference and field questions from the audience with ease.
“Madeline’s strong work ethic has made her successful at UToledo. The Doctor of Pharmacy program is not easy. With her high level of discipline and determination, she has excelled within the program. In addition to the doctor of pharmacy degree, she is also working on earning her master in business administration degree (both to be conferred in spring 2024). Very few students are able to accomplish this task.”
Gutta’s sister, Michelle, was one of the reasons she decided to come to UToledo. Michelle went through The University’s Doctor of Pharmacy program as well, and Gutta, during her senior year of high school, made the trip to Toledo from her hometown of Plymouth, Michigan, to see her sister’s life in pharmacy school.
“I was deciding between a few different colleges at the time, and I decided to shadow Michelle to get a better feel for the school and the program,” Gutta said. “After sitting in on her classes and going with her to her job as a pharmacy intern, I realized I could see myself going to school here to achieve my goal of becoming a pharmacist.”
Another reason was the UToledo Pharmacy Camp she attended the same year. In fact, Gutta enjoyed it so much she wanted to help other students to experience it too.
“I was a camp counselor at the 2022 Pharmacy Camp, which involved leading a group of high schoolers through pharmacy-related activities on campus as well as making sure they felt comfortable here,” she said. “Pharmacy camp helped me decide to pursue pharmacy at UT, and I was glad to be able to have a positive impact on the campers this past summer.”
With a year left until she completes her degrees, Gutta is considering her options for the future. Her current internship at The Drug Store of Perrysburg has provided her with the opportunity for development outside of school.
“Working at a pharmacy while in school is a way to apply what I’m learning in class and to have a direct, positive impact on patient care, which keeps in perspective what all of my education and time spent studying is for,” she said.
With so many post-graduation options, Gutta said she appreciates the more hands-on aspect of the pharmacy program.
“Throughout pharmacy school, we have elective experiences where we can go out into practice and shadow various types of pharmacists, which has allowed me to decide what I want to do after graduation,” she said. “I am currently planning to do a two-year residency with the goal of a career in outpatient clinical pharmacy. Next year will be all experiential learning, which should help me narrow down any specialty areas I would like to pursue.”
From her academic endeavors to her extra-curricular involvement, Gutta said she has had a busy but rewarding time at The University of Toledo.
“As a pharmacy student, much of my time is spent learning material to care for my future patients, and I have taken on the extra challenge of pursuing an MBA at the same time. But the skills I have gained both in school and through co-curricular activities at UT are invaluable to pursuing my goals, and I am grateful for these opportunities I have had here over the past five years.”
Murphy predicts great things for Gutta.
“When Madeline is faced with a challenge, she will use her exceptional problem-solving skills that she has strengthened while at UToledo. When she is working with a patient who needs more than ‘usual care,’ she will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure they have everything they need to optimize their therapy.
“Madeline is going to be an exceptional pharmacist.”