Pharmacy Students Keep The PACE

8 August 2012

Winning presenter Lee Fei Yee in action.

When most people meet pharmacists, it is to buy medication for an ailment. But pharmacists do a whole lot more, and at Monash University Sunway campus, pharmacy students are already changing the industry.

From thinking up new medications to improving the drug delivery systems, Monash Pharmacy students were challenged in a unique way – come up with an idea and present it to a pharmaceutical giant.

Pharmacy students at the Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences recently presented their ideas to Abbott Malaysia, who contributed a total of RM30,000 to the students under the PACE Award – named after the company’s values of Pioneering, Achieving, Caring and Enduring.

The awards were separated into two categories. Students from Years were recognised for leadership, scholastic achievement and community engagement where Leanne Ooi won a hefty RM10,000 and Eunice Lee Chao Ying won RM5,000. The winners for Year 2 and Year 3 were selected based on scholastic achievement and RM5,000 each was awarded to Lui Mei Yi and Vincent Wong Yan Wei.

Three other students of Year 4 (Lee Fei Yee, Lee Ying Chyi and Violet Eng) were given an opportunity to present their research directly to the representatives of Abbott Malaysia.

Winner of the Year 4 category, Lee Fei Yee, was excited to have gained exposure in the pharmaceutical industry and be able to be involved with the research and development of medication.

“I’m very interested in drug delivery and appreciate this chance to have more experience in this matter,” she says. Lee has been deeply driven to work on this research ever since she met a young woman with the disease who could not work.

Violet Eng, who also won an internship with Abbott, was driven to excel in her presentation for the chance to work with the company.

“I want to make full use of this opportunity so that I can explore different aspects of pharmacy practice. This is like a golden ticket to the start of my career,” she says.

General Manager of Abbot Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Thailand Mr Muru Annamalai gained loud applause when he said that the contribution was not a one-off affair, and that he would like to continue in future years to provide monetary prizes to Monash University Sunway campus’ top pharmacy students.

Lee Fei Yee receives her certificate. With her are Mr Muru Annamalai and Professor Kenneth Lee.

"In their presentations, (the students) have demonstrated – among other things – innovative thinking, the ability to convey fresh ideas with a degree of clarity, and a knack for precision – qualities that are highly sought after by the pharmaceutical industry, and will add on to the available talent pool,” he later said.

“The enthusiasm and determination demonstrated by the students have inspired my team and I hope we too have touched their lives in some way through this event. This is only our maiden venture with Monash but we look forward to many more,” Mr Muru added.

In his speech, the School’s Head of Pharmacy Professor Kenneth Lee expressed his elation to see the collaboration between Abbott and the Sunway campus.

“Most graduates from this course will choose to work for the industry in the future so it would be best for them to know what it is like before they graduate. Abbott’s internship opportunities give students a head start in their career and for them to understand how the industry operates from within. Students will learn the values of a multinational company, and clear up and misconceptions that the industry only involves sales and marketing.”

List of winners:

In recognition of leadership, scholastic achievement and community engagement

1. Leanne Ooi - RM10,000

2. Eunice Lee Chao Ying - RM5,000

3. Lui Mei Yi - RM5,000

In recognition of scholastic achievement

4. Vincent Wong Yan Wei - RM5,000

For participating in the student presentation

5. Lee Fei Yee (main winner of RM5,000 and an internship with Abbott)

6. Violet Eng Wei Lerk (runner up and secured an internship with Abbott)

7. Lee Ying Chyi