Students Take International Service Learning Trip
St. Louis College of Pharmacy
4588 Parkview Place * St. Louis, MO 63110 * www.stlcop.edu
St. Louis College of Pharmacy Students Take International Service
Learning Trip to Increase Cultural Awareness
ST. LOUIS (Jan. 4, 2012) – The practice of pharmacy requires not only knowledge and skills related to drug therapies, but also a caring attitude and compassion for patients. To help enhance values related to care and empathy, students and faculty from St. Louis College of Pharmacy (STLCOP) have embarked on an international service learning trip to La Cruz, Costa Rica. The trip is part of a STLCOP course (WE 3735 – International Service Learning), which began in October and ends in February.
From Jan. 2-13, students will help build homes for residents of the small town near the Nicaraguan border. A typical day will include digging foundations, mixing concentrate, and laying bricks, said Ken Schafermeyer, professor of pharmacy administration and director of the College’s liberal arts and administrative services division, who is one of three faculty members accompanying 11 students. He called the experience a “win-win” situation because La Cruz residents benefit from valuable labor and new homes. And, students get the opportunity to expand their social and cultural knowledge by interacting with people from another country.
The participants are Eric Chu (third year); Katelyn Conklen (fifth year); Hannah Gheen (fourth year); Sarah Hwang (fourth year); Margaret Ladlie (third year); Brandon Luong (fourth year); Chelsea Minor (third year); Belma Muharemovic (fifth year); Kylie Scimio (third year); Daniel Seifferett (fifth year); and Callie Stoner (third year). They are being accompanied by Schafermeyer; Tom Zlatic, professor of English; and Mary Lou Zlatic, adjunct professor of Spanish.
As part of both the trip and class, students will keep a journal documenting their thoughts and perspectives about values, cultural diversity, and empathy for people.
“Empathy requires perspective taking – the ability to put oneself in the place of another,” Tom Zlatic said. “By broadening one's experience, service learning can open new possibilities for empathy that can translate into professional settings.”
Zlatic and Schafermeyer said the trip provides an opportunity for the aspiring pharmacists to see firsthand how people from other cultures live. Zlatic hopes the experience eliminates and prevents ethnic and cultural biases while providing greater understanding and tolerance of individual and group differences. He said exemplary pharmacy is about values, beliefs, and the commitment to serving all people, as well as knowledge of effective drug therapies.
St. Louis College of Pharmacy: Founded in 1864, St. Louis College of Pharmacy is one of the oldest and largest colleges of pharmacy in America. It integrates the liberal arts and sciences with a six-year professional curriculum leading to the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree. The College admits students directly from high school and accepts transfer students from other colleges and universities. Approximately 1,265 students attend, and more than 72 percent of practicing pharmacists in the St. Louis metropolitan area are alumni.