If you work in pharmacy, you know it’s a “small world”. Mentoring opportunities- both formal and informal- become common in the industry between licensed pharmacists and students.

Dr. Jenna Stewart, a 2022 Doctor of Pharmacy alumna, has been actively involved in nurturing current PharmD candidates at Chapman University, one of the many ways she gives back to her alma mater. “When I graduated from Chapman, I knew I wanted to pay it forward and continue to stay connected to the panther community; serving as a mentor to help students navigate through the world of pharmacy much like my mentors have done for me.”

While Dr. Stewart is completing her PGY-2 training at Yale New Haven Health in Connecticut, she has still found ways to stay involved with Chapman from across the country. Alongside serving as a mentor for Tali and other students, she remains involved as an Alumni Advisory Board member and was honored with Chapman University’s inaugural Rho Chi Honor Society Alumni Recognition Award.

Tali Faggiano, a PharmD Class of 2024 candidate, initially connected with Dr. Stewart through a research project invitation. “Our mentor-mentee relationship started out solely professional. However, as I worked with her and got to know her more, Jenna and I became friends. We still have a professional relationship in the sense that I trust her guidance and expertise, but we also support each other in our personal lives now too,” Tali says.

During her final trimesters as a student at Chapman, Dr. Stewart began a Supplemental Instruction (SI) research project, which evaluated the impact of SI on academic success in a Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum. Now, Tali serves as the primary author on the manuscript and has transitioned into the leader of the project.

Reflecting on her experience, Tali acknowledges Dr. Stewart’s invaluable guidance in navigating various challenges, both academic and personal. “Her advice and guidance allowed me to better navigate certain occasions, helping me capitalize on many valuable moments,” says Tali. Despite not crossing paths during their time at Chapman, their shared interests and involvement in student organizations grew the mentorship into a genuine friendship- Tali’s participation in Rho Chi mirrors Dr. Stewart’s engagement during her time as a PharmD candidate, giving space for the continuity of mentorship within the pharmacy community. Recently, Tali was honored with 4 CUSP Awards at the PharmD Class of 2024 banquet, including Panther Spirit Award and Excellence in Entrepreneurship. Although not directly tied to Dr. Stewart, the guidance of mentorships allows for confidence and growth in current students to accomplish these notable achievements during their time at Chapman University.

Tali is just one of several lucky students who have had the chance to have been mentored by Dr. Stewart. “I have multiple mentees throughout the years, some being paired through mentor/mentee programs and some that have been formed organically through students reaching out for assistance in residency or general navigation through pharmacy school,” says Dr. Stewart. “Pharmacy school and career planning can come with many decisions and it is helpful to have the support from someone who has been through similar experiences – Mentoring is a truly rewarding ‘full circle’ experience!”

Interested in becoming a mentor? Chapman University recently launched the Panther Network, an easy-to-use platform to bridge connections between current students and alumni, as well as alumni to alumni networking. The platform features job opportunities, resources, directories, and also houses the Panther Network which offers both “flash mentoring” as well as semester-long mentoring programs. Both of these programs are sponsored by the University with the potential to have continuing connections once the program ends.

You can register on the Panther Network to find your best pair to a student mentee or alumni mentor based on similar industry interests, school/college attended, and other factors. You can learn more about the Panther Network on Chapman’s alumni website.