The University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy’s first BE ME (Being Equipped for My Excellence) student cohort arrived on campus in early August to participate in a pre-orientation immersion program. The cohort was composed of nine students identifying as first generation and/or historically underrepresented minorities.
Program organizers hoped that by coming together, the students would begin to feel a sense of belonging in the college and support for their success and development throughout their PharmD education experience.
The immersion program was held on both the Twin Cities and Duluth campuses during the two weeks prior to new pharmacy student orientation. Programming was focused on building a support system, intentionally working to demystify the pharmacy school experience, and fostering personal and professional exploration through the immersion program. Upperclass students were hired to support the delivery of the BE ME program and to serve as BE ME ambassadors by mentoring the BE ME students throughout the academic year.
Upon completion of the program, students shared feedback like, “Thanks to everyone who made this program possible and made our experiences immersive and fun in this program. I feel more ready than ever to start pharmacy school!” and “The experience was amazing! Thank you to all of the professors that took time out of their busy schedules to make this program inviting and informative. The professors created a really inclusive, safe, and welcoming environment that eased my worries immediately on the first day.”
Students will continue in the BE ME program throughout their first year in the PharmD program. They will have ongoing mentoring from upperclass students, every other month cohort meetings to continue to build on the topics introduced during the immersion program, and a capstone project.
The BE ME program is made possible through the support of a grant from the McKesson Foundation.