By Curtis Carden
A Unicoi County native recently earned an internship to a well-renown university.
Shannon Parkey, a second-year student at the Gatton College of Pharmacy at East Tennessee State University, earned a prestigious summer internship with Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
“I had been anxiously awaiting for an email or call from Hopkins all week, every time I got an email my heart skipped a beat,” Parkey told The Erwin Record on Monday, Feb. 22. “When the weekend came, I just knew for sure I wasn’t accepted and had come to terms with it. I randomly opened my email on Saturday, Feb. 6, and saw ‘congratulations’ in an email from Hopkins and I didn’t even read the rest of it.
“I immediately called my mom … I could barely get the words out to tell her I had been accepted. I have been in awe since then and I’m still in shock that I am able to have this amazing opportunity.”
Parkey will spend the summer taking part in the Johns Hopkins Pharmacy Internship, where she will work at the Johns Hopkins Weinberg Outpatient Pharmacy.
According to information provided by ETSU, the pharmacy is located in the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center and services approximately 140 acute care beds and two high-volume outpatient oncology infusion centers.
Parkey is in high-regard with the selection, with only 20 students being accepted for the program.
Parkey said being alongside her father, Shane, as he battled cancer inspired her to become a pharmacist. She is preparing for what is in store for her this summer.
“I honestly can’t even imagine what all I will be exposed to this summer,” she said. “I know it will be a lot of hard work, but the experiences I will have will stick with me throughout my career. The program is formatted to give the interns exposure to pharmacy and clinical practice. We are given the opportunity to explore many different facets of pharmacy and also to be involved with things like journal clubs and an independent project over the summer.”
In a release issued by ETSU, the acute patient areas at Johns Hopkins include surgery, medical oncology, benign hematology, hematologic malignancies and bone marrow transplantation. The primary outpatient infusion centers care for approximately 150-200 patients per day.
The inpatient/outpatient infusion center cares for 50 patients going through bone marrow transplants and the Oncology Investigational Drug Service supports 400-500 trials within different practice settings.
Parkey also thanked Dr. Jim Thigpen and Dr. David Roane for their letters of recommendation for the program.
As far as what’s ahead in the summer, Parkey is just living in the moment.
“Right now, I don’t have any specific plans after graduation,” she added. “That’s still two years away, but I am definitely exploring the option of completing a residency.”