We are STLCOP Profile: Kilinyaa Cothran
Published on 06 April 2015
Accepting a position at STLCOP was a coming home of sorts for Kilinyaa Cothran, who graduated from the College in 2001. “I had been working at Walgreens for nearly 15 years—first as a student and then as a practicing pharmacist, and I was looking for something different,” Cothran says. “The opportunity came up for me to return to STLCOP, and I thought it was a great chance to help make things at the College even better.”
As director of professional student affairs, Cothran provides professional student organization support and coordinates White Coat Ceremony, Outreach & Advocacy Day, Legislative Day, American Pharmacists Month, and anything else having to do with students in the College’s professional programs. “I look for opportunities for students to use the skills that they learn here in a professional setting to prepare them to be practicing pharmacists,” she says.
One of Cothran’s current projects involves developing a career pathways program, which takes students through the process of determining their personality type, what they like to do, and the work environment they prefer. The students’ preferences are then matched to careers in pharmacy for which they might be well suited. “I’m trying to be more proactive about educating students about the variety of career options available,” Cothran says.
The career pathways program also teaches students about the importance of internships. “An internship is not only an opportunity to network and gain experience—it also allows students to spend time trying out different types of pharmacy careers to see what’s a good fit,” she says. “Had there been someone at the College like me to talk to when I was a student, the career choices I made would probably have been slightly different.”
Another current project includes establishing a professional plan. “We are developing an entire professional elective series at the College,” she says. “Right now the expectation is that students participate in four of these activities before they graduate—things like CV writing, interviewing skills, the career pathways program, and more.”
Cothran’s favorite part of her job is interacting with students. “I’m able to give them information about being a practicing pharmacist and about academics at STLCOP because I was a student here,” she says. “I like to think that I am helping students become better leaders and hopefully caring, attentive, devoted, and committed pharmacists.”
Outside of the office, Cothran is pursuing a doctorate in higher education administration at Saint Louis University and looking into serving as an expert witness in court. In addition, she dances in her free time. “I was a member of a junior dance company, and I have danced most of my adult life,” she says. “If I weren’t a pharmacist, I would probably be a ballerina!”