Alumni Spotlight: Kelli Clarkson, MS Pharmacy Leadership Graduate

UC MS Pharmacy Leadership Graduate Leading Team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Kelli Clarkson, UC Pharmacy Leadership Graduate, is the Lead Pharmacist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) here in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the Operating Room Pharmacy at CCHMC.

UC Online recently talked with Kelli about her career and experience at the University of Cincinnati and the Pharmacy Leadership Program. She provided her perspective on the Pharmacy Leadership program and what it was like to be an online student.

Q: What year did you graduate?

I received both degrees from UC. I received my PharmD in 2007 and my MS in Pharmacy Leadership in 2020.

Q: What motivated you to seek your MS in Pharmacy Leadership?

A job I had worked my entire career for was opening up and even though I had the knowledge and experience for the position, I wanted to make sure I was as qualified as I could be to obtain my dream job.

Q: Why did you select the MS Pharmacy Leadership program?

I had always wanted to get my MBA and had even considered getting it while in pharmacy school. A colleague of mine was enrolled in the Pharmacy Leadership program, so I decided to look into it further. Once I learned more about the program, it seemed to be a much better fit for my career than an MBA.

Q: Why did you select UC, and are you happy with your choice?

I went to pharmacy school at UC and was familiar with the college. I wanted to do a distance-only program and I knew someone enrolled that had a great experience. I am happy with the choice I made to go to UC. The faculty and support, especially when it came to my capstone project, was wonderful.

Q: How did you handle the school, work, life balance while in the program?

This was the most difficult part. I have two young children, who are my number one priority in life. I promised my family that if school were ever to interfere with them, I would stop immediately. I sacrificed a lot of sleep, so as not to miss out on anything with my family.

There were semesters where I did choose not to take a class, so I could have a break, which helped give me time to regroup and get back at it again. The summers were the most difficult sacrifice for me to make since my kids were out of school.

This program really taught me how to manage my time, prioritize, and most importantly taught me that everything did not have to be done right away.

Q: What is a favorite memory or a proud moment you had during the program?

I was so incredibly proud the day I presented my capstone project. My parents were there and I absolutely loved seeing the proud looks on their faces.

I was certain when I started the program that I was only going to get the certificate and stop, but after a lot of encouragement from my boss, I decided to stick it out.

I was so incredibly proud after the presentation. Proud that I accomplished something I thought was so out of reach, not only because of the challenge of the program, but also because I was juggling an important leadership role at the hospital while continuing my job as a mom, wife, and daughter.

Q: How has your degree helped you in your career?

The MS Pharmacy Leadership degree has helped me develop into a better leader and opened the door to any management job that opens up in the future. An advanced degree is required by my employer for any management position, so I am ready when the right one becomes available.

Q: Who is a good fit for the Pharmacy Leadership program?

Any pharmacist who is looking to further grow and develop their leadership skills, who also has the determination, dedication, and drive to tackle a challenge that is well worth the effort.

Q: Do you have any advice for future students looking into the program?

If you are considering this program, I would recommend doing it sooner rather than later. My biggest regret is not doing it sooner. I feel like this program has helped me develop as a leader and has opened so many doors for my future. I took one class to “try” the program out and this really helped alleviate any anxiety I was having and gave me the confidence to continue.

Q: For someone who may have never taken an online course before, how would you describe the experience?

I was exactly that person. I had never taken an online course and had been out of school for over 10 years, so I was a little apprehensive. Blackboard was still being used when I started, so I was fortunate to be familiar with this program. Midway through my degree, the University switched to Canvas, but it was a smooth transition. The platform was very user friendly. Probably my biggest challenge was figuring out how to record presentations and upload them for assignments. Other than that, the online course format was not difficult.

Q: Anything else you would like to add?

The opportunity to complete this program 100% online was so incredibly valuable for someone in the workforce who is trying their best to balance both their work and family. I would not have been able to complete this program any other way.

If you are considering this program, I would encourage you to connect with someone else currently in the program or someone who has completed the program. I had a friend who was a little bit ahead of me who provided support and guidance along the way. He really gave me encouragement and pushed me to the finish line.

Learn More About the MS Pharmacy Leadership Program with UC Online

The MS Pharmacy Leadership program from the University of Cincinnati James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy is flexible and 100% online. Build your business management skills and advance your career as a leader in the pharmacy field with a program custom-built for busy working pharmacists.

Learn More about the Pharmacy Leadership program with UC Online.

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