Entering something new and life-changing can be scary, yet adventurous. For Eugenio Castillo, Pharm.D., that’s exactly how he felt when he entered the Texas A&M Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy.
Castillo, Class of 2010, said he was no “spring chicken.” As a 1989 graduate of the University of Texas in civil engineering, he immediately put his education into practice as an engineer at with Celanese in Bishop, Texas. After 13 years of service in the engineering field, Castillo felt compelled to look at his long-term career options due to the impact the downturn in the economy had on Celanese in the early to mid-2000’s.
In 2004, he made the decision to return to college at Texas A&M University-Kingsville to continue his education. In 2006, he was accepted into the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy as part of the inaugural class. “Choosing the college was an easy decision for me,” said Castillo, who is now a practicing pharmacist in Alice, Texas. “It essentially provided three things for me. First, it gave me the opportunity to more effectively—and directly—work with people in providing care. Second, the school and the pharmacy field aligned two of the things that I love: math and science. The third was that it kept me and my family in South Texas, which was a very important thing.”
As a resident of Kingsville for the past 20 years, staying in this area was important.
The idea of attending a startup professional program concerned him a little.
“It felt great to be part of something new, but I was worried about whether or not I would be prepared,” he said. “I knew I was being taught adequate information, but anyone part of something new would worry about the same thing.”
Castillo quickly changed his mind when he noticed the focus on patient care and pharmacy practice. The Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy provided Castillo with the best preparation any pharmacist could receive.
The most important thing he credits the college with is ensuring that the patient was the first priority.
“Each class drilled the importance of patient care into students,” he said. “The No. 1 priority was to ensure that the patient was No. 1 and nothing else takes precedent over him or her. A pharmacist must make sure that the medicine they are providing is helping not harming and that’s what I am helping students learn today.”
After graduating from the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy, Castillo worked full time with Bill Moore at Moore’s Pharmacy in Sinton, Texas. In December 2012, he accepted a position at Wal-Mart in Alice. As an employee of both pharmacies, Castillo put everything he learned into practice. As a preceptor for the college, he shares that information with current professional student pharmacists.
“Being a preceptor is simply an extension of being a student. I am still learning every day,” Castillo said. “The Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy is taking in some excellent students and turning them into excellent pharmacists. Every student that I have precepted from the college has gone above and beyond; they are caring and well-educated. I can confidently say that the college is putting out some of the best pharmacists that truly care about patients.”