Alumni Spotlight: Caitlin Hawkins, Pharmacy Leadership

Caitlin Hawkins Chooses Two UC Degrees, Completing Her Master’s and PharmD In Four Years

UC Online Pharmacy Leadership 2023 Graduate
Caitlin H PhamD, MS Pharmacy Leadership graduate and Dr. Jenelle Sobotka, Pharmacy Leadership program director share their thoughts at the 2023 James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy Graduation.
Alumni Spotlight: Caitlin Hawkins, Pharmacy Leadership
Caitlin Hawkins is an impressive UC alum who graduated in spring 2023 with two degrees, a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) and MS of Science in Pharmacy Leadership.

Interstate 71 may have pointed Caitlin Hawkins from her northeast Ohio home to the University of Cincinnati, but her UC pharmacy degrees are what guide her toward a bright future.

Caitlin, a Canton, Ohio, native, earned both her Doctor of Pharmacy and Master of Science (MS) in Pharmacy Leadership degrees from our James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy in the Spring of 2023. She completed both degrees concurrently — her PharmD in person on UC’s campus and the latter program online.

Caitlin was pleasantly surprised by the ease of coordinating her full course load and was struck by the uniformity of the education when she compared on-campus studies to what she studied online.

Student-Focused, Pharmacy-Centered Program

Before Caitlin decided to enroll in the fully online MS in Pharmacy Leadership program, she consulted with Dr. Jenelle Sobotka, director of UC’s pharmacy leadership program.

“I didn’t want to sign up for something and then not complete it,” Caitlin says. “I wanted to be sure that, if I did enroll, I’d be 100% committed. I grilled Dr. Sobotka about the program, and she answered every question.”

The overall flexibility of studying at UC allowed Caitlin enough time to work part-time at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital’s inpatient pharmacy. The predictability of course formats helped her create a workable schedule. “I knew every week what my workload would look like,” she says. “Online students get to decide how they want to experience the program, which I appreciate.”

Caitlin didn’t know about the pharmacy master’s degree until her first visit to UC to check out the College of Pharmacy. This was when she learned the leadership degree is one of the only programs of its kind in the U.S. and among the first offered 100% online.

During that first visit, Caitlin immediately felt welcome, saying:

I absolutely loved every person I interacted with and felt pulled into the fold. The faculty and staff genuinely wanted to see students grow both professionally and personally.

When asked if the pharmacy leadership degree drew her attention away from an MBA, Caitlin said it did. “I liked that UC’s degree was focused on pharmacy operations and management,” she says. “It felt like a better choice for me than getting a general MBA, which wouldn’t have had that focus.”

Get to know Dr. Jenelle Sobotka in this faculty spotlight article.
Get to know Dr. Jenelle Sobotka in this faculty spotlight article.

Two Graduate Programs for Pharmacy Professionals

UC’s online MS in Pharmacy Leadership program provides a flexible and convenient online learning experience, allowing students to complete the program in as little as five semesters.
The comprehensive program integrates specialized courses in leadership and professional development, crafted to equip pharmacists with the necessary skills and knowledge to advance their careers as effective leaders and managers in the pharmacy field.

Graduate-level topics include:

  • Effective communication
  • Entrepreneurship and innovative thinking
  • Developing a leadership style
  • Conflict management
  • Team building and leadership

The pharmacy leadership degree, which UC introduced in 2016, is specifically designed for working pharmacists who want to advance their business leadership and management skills while also building knowledge of issues facing healthcare systems.

UC also offers a fully online, 15-credit-hour Pharmacy Leadership Graduate Certificate. Students take their first five courses to obtain the certificate, and some decide to complete the certificate’s last five courses in the MS in Pharmacy Leadership program.

Caitlin’s plan was always to do the master’s program. When choosing which classes to take, she focused on where classes best fit into the semesters and how they would supplement the other things she was learning.

A Pharmacist’s Big and Small Focus Areas

Caitlin believes a career in pharmacy checks all the boxes for what she sees as being a meaningful, impactful career, saying:

Working in the pharmacy field, you deal with the big and the small — you help patients meet their health goals and know that a single medication can change a person’s life.

Now that she’s a UC graduate, Caitlin is preparing for a two-year pharmacy residency at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, where she’ll work on another pharmacy-focused master’s degree through Ohio State University.

Looking further into the future, Caitlin has her sights set on a career in administration. But she hasn’t ruled out the possibility of returning to academia. “I had a rotation with our Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Admissions and absolutely loved it.”

Caitlin’s Outside Interests

Considering herself a crafty person, Caitlin enjoys applying her creativity to sewing. She makes custom sweatshirts and t-shirts using a Cricut, a machine that cuts iron-on or adhesive vinyl into myriad designs and sayings.

Caitlin has an adventurous side, as well. She says, “I enjoy hitting the road to see where it takes me. Sometimes, the best adventures are the ones you don’t intend to take.”

This adventurous spirit will serve Caitlin well as she relocates to Columbus and investigates everything available to her in a new city.

Supportive Community, Personalized Experience

Now that Caitlin’s time with UC has ended, she reflects on her time in the pharmacy leadership program, saying:

UC’s faculty and staff create an environment that allows online students to develop a real community, and Dr. Sobotka is great about making sure you can build that sense of community outside the classroom, too.

Some of my fellow pharmacy leadership program students were also in the PharmD program. I enjoyed our shared experience, but finding a sense of community with students in the online sphere was a nice surprise.

Another thing I enjoyed about the program is that there’s no one way to complete it because it’s all virtual. I was able to successfully complete my master’s degree while doing the PharmD program.

Take the Next Step Today

If you’re interested in learning more about UC’s online MS in Pharmacy Leadership program, complete this form, and an Enrollment Services Advisor will be in touch.

Dr. Sobotka and her team look forward to meeting you!

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