Bettine Gibbs said their “Butler moment” came at the beginning of her third year, during the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences’ White Coat Ceremony that marks students’ transition from the study of preclinical to clinical health science.
“It lets the students know that this is the time to be serious,” they said. “It’s not a game. You have people’s lives in your hands. Having all the faculty participate was really nice, and the speech the Dean gave was helpful in guiding me, having me think about which route I want to take and understanding that it’s not always going to be a straight line to where you want to go.”
Gibbs, who chose Butler because earning their PharmD degree would take six years here rather than eight at another school, has often traveled the road less taken. For starters, while Pharmacy is typically all-consuming for students, they found time to walk on to the track and field team for two years, competing in the BIG EAST outdoor championships at Villanova and indoor championships in New York. In addition, they have been an officer in the Black Student Union, where they have pushed for more diversity and inclusivity at Butler.
Then, because they had an internship over summer 2017—at Eli Lilly and Company, in the Bioproduct Research and Development sector—they spent the fall 2017 semester finishing her Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences at IU Health Methodist Hospital. They worked a full eight-hour day each Saturday or Sunday alongside pharmacists and physicians, making medication recommendations. (Their classmates completed their IPPE’s in larger blocks of time.)
And finally, while most of their classmates tend toward clinical pharmacy, Gibbs has decided they want to be a pharmaceutical scientist. Their goal is to either work for a company like Lilly, become a tenure-track professor at a research institution where they would have her own lab, or teach at a liberal arts college like Butler.
Gibbs said professors at Butler have backed her decisions.
“Finding a home in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department has been the best thing about Butler,” they said. “I found support there when I didn’t want to go the traditional clinical route. I was able to find support in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department as well as the Chemistry Department—and even some professors in Political Science and History and Anthropology helped me have ideas about what route I would like to go. It taught me that you don’t have to stay in one place in this University. You can go to different colleges and people will help you out.”