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February 11, 2011

MBA degree and beyond

South University Newsroom

Laceye A. Parker
Class of 2010
Master of Business Administration, Healthcare Administration
Current Student: Doctor of Pharmacy (Inaugural class in Columbia)
Columbia, SC Campus
Hometown: Lake City, South Carolina/Lugoff, South Carolina
Employment: Pharmacy Intern at Target Pharmacy/McLeod Regional Medical Center

MBA degree and beyond

Soon after she graduated from college with a major in biology and minor in chemistry, Laceye Parker, 24, landed a job as an Environmental Health Manager with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC). “I wanted to start graduate studies right away, and South University’s Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Administration was just right for me, with convenient year-round classes and friendly, helpful faculty and staff."

“I had always been interested in healthcare, though,” says Laceye, “and as a child thought about becoming a physician. But when both my grandfathers became seriously ill, I came to a new appreciation of the vital role that pharmacists play in achieving positive outcomes for patients. As soon as I completed my master’s degree, I decided to enter South University’s Doctor of Pharmacy program.

“The classes have been great,” says Laceye. “My favorite professor is Dr. Steven Pressley. He was always available to provide one-on-one help with concepts that seemed beyond our grasp. He made classes interesting and could always get a laugh out of us, even at 9:00 at night.”

It is the practical experience, though, that has fueled Laceye’s passion for being a pharmacist. “Every second is a new opportunity to help someone,” she says about being a pharmacy intern at Target Pharmacy and McLeod Regional Medical Center. “Recently I helped an elderly gentleman whose wife had just passed away. He said that she always made sure he took his medications on time. So I set up a box with 31 pockets to get him through an entire month--a simple thing for me to do, but the tears in his eyes told me it meant everything to him.

“I had similar experiences at South Carolina Oncology Associates, one of my Longitudinal Pharmacy Practice Experience sites.  Each time I walked out that door, I felt like I really touched someone's life. That’s the best feeling in the world.”   

Laceye expects to complete her Doctor of Pharmacy studies and take board exams in 2013. “Pharmacists will face many challenges in the future,” she says, “with healthcare reform and changes in Medicaid and Medicare.” A projected shortage of physicians in the U. S. will also mean increasing responsibilities for pharmacists, and Laceye is eager to take that on.

“Everything I’ve learned through my work at SCDHEC, and in my MBA program and Pharmacy School at South University, is laying a firm foundation for my career as a pharmacist.  In addition to management experience and graduate studies, I have had the privilege of becoming friends with many people from different backgrounds and different parts of the U. S. and other countries. At South University, I was part of a diverse community of faculty and students. While I always respected other cultures, I hadn’t realized how important it was for me to understand them. This will be invaluable in my relationships with patients."

“My husband and my entire family have been behind me every step of the way, during my master’s studies and during pharmacy school. In many ways, I’m doing this for them. I want to do everything I can to ensure that they and everyone else receive effective, affordable medication and treatment that will help them enjoy a healthier life.”