A Path to Finding Your Passion

Published on 17 December 2019

Changes to the higher education enrollment landscape and trends in federal aid availability over recent years have prompted St. Louis College of Pharmacy to examine new approaches to attract prospective students.

In 2016, the Office of Financial Aid at the College established the Community Service Scholars Program to provide financial support to low-income, underrepresented or first-generation college students with a desire to serve in their communities.

The program is structured to provide financial support for students while also creating transformative experiences that support the students’ success and contribute to the mission of the College. Selected through a competitive application process, the community service scholars are empowered to positively impact the campus and local community through service and action.

“We saw an opportunity to create a program that provides support for students who would otherwise not be able to attend the College,” explained Dan Stiffler, director of financial aid. “What makes this program special is that we structured it in a way that these students are able to give back to the community and benefit from an enriched experience.”

Focusing on prospective students who are passionate about community service, philanthropy and creating positive change in their communities, the program grew to seven scholars during the 2018-19 academic year with five more joining for the 2019-20 academic year.

Throughout the program, scholars learn how to engage in their communities in a deliberate and thoughtful manner through individual and group service experiences, meetings with College and community leaders and structured personal and group reflections led by more experienced scholars.

“These activities give us a better understanding of ourselves and why community service is important to each of us,” sophomore scholar Aamina Syeda stated. “We learn how to serve our community while also discovering our purpose in serving by having a deeper connection with it.”

The program helps students build connections beyond the classroom and draw larger parallels with the world around them.

Jasmine Adams, another sophomore scholar, values the connections that the group has been able to make between community service and health care.

“Giving back is another way to get yourself into the community and understand the people you will be serving,” Adams said. “In the program, we discuss what it means and takes to be a good person serving the community and how that service affects the College community and surrounding St. Louis area. Exposing yourself to cultures different from your own and participating in experiences that you wouldn’t normally have is a way to help you empathize with your patients and become a better health care professional.”

Following the success of the Community Service Scholars Program, three other scholars programs were created to attract students with interests in research, leadership and music.

“We hope the program continues to grow, so we can support even more students and expand the opportunities available to them,” Stiffler stated. “We built the structure and framework, but the students are taking the reins and molding the program into what they want it to be for them.”

Support Recruitment Efforts Through the Scholars Program Fund

The Scholars Program Fund provides access to transformative experiences at the College through the Community Service, Research, Music, and Founders Leadership Scholars Programs.

By providing financial support and unique, structured experiences, the scholars programs help students develop skills to become effective and innovative leaders in health care and their communities.

Through support of these programs, alumni and friends of the College have an opportunity to directly affect students’ access to health care education and support the College’s efforts to attract and retain the best and brightest students.

You can show your support by making a gift to the Scholars Program Fund.


This story was featured in the spring 2019 issue of Script magazine. To read past issues of the magazine, visit the Script magazine archive.

Explore more stories in the categories of: Philanthropy , Community Engagement , Students , Script

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