Spotlight: Allison Bryce

alliAllison Bryce of Pleasanton, Texas

Helen Keller once said: “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Allison Bryce of Pleasanton, Texas, is the perfect example. Life’s hardships do not define ones destiny just as the quote noted by one of the leading educators and humanitarians. For any typical high school student, a diagnosis of cancer resulting in the need for amputation, is debilitating news and often not easy to overcome emotionally or physically. Her leg was amputated and she was fitted for a prosthetic in high school, but she did not let that deter her from her dreams.

“She did not let cancer hinder her passion to make a difference for herself and for others through the study of pharmacy, Allison still shined through,” said Victoria Pho, Pharm.D., assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy. “She has the heart of a lion and the mind of a warrior that never gives up. Her life has been colored with inspiring stories of pain and triumph.”

She graduated on May 23 summa cum laude with distinction attaining the perfect 4.0 in her professional college journey. The college awarded Bryce on May 20 at the College Awards with the Dean’s Academic Achievement Award, recognizing the student in the graduating class with the highest grade point average, a feat she shares with fellow graduate Quyen Dau of Sugar Land, Texas.

Bryce said her parents were role models of strength, integrity and perseverance. Their support helped her make it through life’s ups and downs.

“She told me as a child she loved to dance. When Allison became ill she continued to dance right through the pain and eventually beat cancer; I am very proud of her and she always inspires me,” Pho said. “She constantly pushed herself to excel and exceed her expectations in both her personal and professional life.”

Bryce said the rigorous coursework enhanced her study habits and critical thinking skills. “That will continue to help me prosper for the longevity of my career as a pharmacist,” Bryce said.

“Being a student at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy has been a stimulating and challenging experience,” Bryce said. “The culture of the college revolves around teamwork, fostering lifelong learning and mutual success.”

In summer 2014, Bryce served at the Michael DeBakey Veterans Affairs Hospital in Houston in the Veterans Affairs Learning Opportunity Residency (VALOR) program that is designed to attract academically successful students of doctorate of pharmacy programs to work at a Veterans Affairs facility.

During Bryce’s fourth year, Pho was her clinical preceptor for the ambulatory care rotation at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital’s Coumadin and Medicine clinics.

Bryce worked on a team with Pho to produce a manuscript, “Anticoagulation in Obese Population,” that was submitted to the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists’ Journal. She compiled patient instructions in Spanish for hematology patients, made an English to Spanish script for interviewing Spanish-speaking warfarin patients, and completed teaching assignments on antidepressants in pregnancy.

She honed her leadership skills as the chapter historian for honor society of Rho Chi and as the co-chair of the Medication Safety Committee for the Student Society of Health-System Pharmacists. She was an active member of the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists and president of the Creative Writers Club.

“These positions improved my communication skills, leadership ability and led me to feel more connected with the pharmacy community as a whole,” Bryce said.

Giving back through community services was important to her and she participated in multiple projects including peer counseling for pediatric cancer and amputees, poison control education at Kingsville Boys & Girls Club health fair, and Medication Use Safety Training for Seniors.

In addition, she continued to expand her knowledge and skills to areas of academia with teaching opportunities as a sterile lab teaching assistant and biology lab teaching assistant during pharmacy school and as a math and English tutor at Coastal Bend College. Knowing the value of research, she was also a student researcher focusing on identification and classification of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Bryce received a postgraduate year one residency with Harris Health System in Houston, Texas. She plans to become a clinical pharmacy specialist.