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UNCP alumnae complete Doctor of Pharmacy program at Wingate University

Ashley Arcara
Ashley Arcara

Five UNC Pembroke alumnae recently graduated from Wingate University’s Doctor of Pharmacy program.

Alex Miles Locklear, Megan Stevens Kwasnik, Sharon Ayioka, Brooke Chavis and Ashley Arcara were among the Spring 2021 graduating class.

Arcara and Chavis graduated from UNCP in 2016. Kwasnik, Ayioka and Locklear earned their UNCP degrees the following year.

Ayioka, a native of Kenya pursuing a career as an ambulatory care pharmacist, credits her UNCP professors Rachel Smith and Maria Santisteban for her academic success.

“I would not have made it this far without them,” she said. “Also, the COMPASS program awarded me a scholarship which helped take the financial burden off my shoulders, allowed me to do research at MIT. The COMPASS program opened so many doors for me.”

Arcara has accepted a year-long acute care residency at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte.

“My time at UNCP has impacted my life in so many ways,” said Arcara, a Fayetteville native. “It has allowed me to pursue my career goal of becoming a pharmacist. Without the wonderful faculty and staff, I would not be where I am today.”

Locklear of Pembroke said her UNCP experience helped prepare her for the challenges and rigorous course load in pharmacy school.

“The faculty and staff always pushed me to do my best. They never doubted my abilities and always encouraged me when I fell short. They always had expectations of me, and for that, I am grateful because it helped shaped me into the pharmacist that I am today.” 

Locklear is currently considering job offers with hopes of becoming a full-time community pharmacist. 

Brooke Chavis of Maxton has landed a graduate intern position with Walgreens. Her time at UNCP allowed her to gain the necessary knowledge in biology and chemistry, which helped her succeed in pharmacy school.

“The faculty were encouraging and challenged me to reach my full potential. Furthermore, the Health Career Access Program allowed me to complete an internship that gave me insight into the medical field, which piqued my interest in exploring numerous careers, leading me to pharmacy school. Skills and knowledge gained at UNCP were vital in helping me obtain my PharmD,” Chavis said.

Chavis plans to seek a pharmacist position with Walgreens upon obtaining her licensure.

Kwasnik, a resident of Bladenboro, credits Drs. Siva Mandjiny and Rachel Smith for shaping her UNCP experience.

“Dr. Mandjiny puts so much of himself into his teaching and wants to see his students succeed. Dr. Smith’s door was always open for anything her students needed, whether it was to discuss organic chemistry or have a good cry.”

Kwasnik plans to gain experience working at a community pharmacy before applying for a two-year residency program focusing on infectious disease.