July 22, 2019
By Whitney Tarpy
OXFORD, Miss. – Pursuing a Doctor of Pharmacy degree requires some heavy lifting with classes, practice rotations and campus involvement.
While recent University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy graduate Emily Lewis used her inner strength and work ethic to earn her Pharm.D. in May, she found her physical strength through her passion of weightlifting.
Lewis’ dedication to the sport earned her tenth place at the National University Championships in Las Vegas, Nevada, back in March.
“This was my first national competition, so honestly it was just an incredible feeling to get out on the big platform and lay everything out there that I had worked so hard for,” Lewis said. “It gave me the desire to qualify for more national meets and keep competing as long as I can.”
The Valley Park, Missouri, native began CrossFit in 2013 as a way to stay active. After finding that she enjoyed Olympic-style lifts such as ‘snatch’ and ‘clean and jerk,’ Lewis began to focus strictly on weightlifting in 2018.
“I love the technicality of the sport,” Lewis said. “It’s always challenging, yet so much fun.”
She trains at Mississippi Barbell in Brandon and completed three events in the last year. Lewis was competing against 21 other women at the Las Vegas national event. She placed eighth in the snatch and 11th in the clean and jerk, resulting in her top 10 overall finish.
“Weightlifting really translates to what I want to accomplish in the long term,” Lewis said. “My training in the gym helps me physically, but it also teaches me how to be successful at whatever I set my mind on and work hard for.”
Lewis’ next goal is attending medical school at University of Mississippi Medical Center this fall to study pediatric orthopedics.
“Pharmacy school has given me incredible baseline knowledge about the human body and drugs,” Lewis said. “It has also allowed me to work with people from all different health care settings as we provide the best care for our patients. That’s the whole reason we’re here.”
Katie McClendon, the school’s assistant dean of student services in Jackson, believes the time and stress management skills Lewis learned from strength training and school activities will serve her well in medical school.
“Many pharmacy and health organizations promote a culture of wellness and resilience, and Emily has been a testament to just that,” McClendon said. “Additionally, she will act as a great role model to patients to show that exercise is important to maintaining health.”