Second-year student pharmacist Alexcia Carr was made for pharmacy. Her giving attitude has her ready to serve her community, which she is already doing as part of the university's COVID-19 Call Center. Learn more about the Call Center and stellar student Alexcia Carr!
North Pike High School
Southwest Mississippi Community College
My grandfather was a significant part of my life and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease several years before he died. I spent a lot of time taking my grandfather to doctor visits and administering to him his medication, which piqued my interest in medicine, how it worked and why it worked. My mom is a community leader, and growing up we spent a lot of time volunteering. With the help of my 10th grade chemistry teacher, I connected the dots of my experience helping my grandfather, my love for science and my love for helping others to find that pharmacy was the best option for me.
Why Ole Miss?
As a senior in high school, I was sure that I would attend the University of Mississippi at some point, I just didn’t know if it would be right away. Ultimately, I chose to attend Southwest Mississippi Community College first, but after two short years—it was time to transfer. I chose the university for several reasons. In high school and especially at Southwest, we visited the campus numerous times for various leadership conferences and visit days. I loved the campus and as a community college transfer, I had access to thousands of dollars in scholarship money once I became a student here. I chose the School of Pharmacy because of its reputation. Our school is repeatedly ranked as one of the top pharmacy schools in the nation, and we have brilliant and caring professors with a wide range of backgrounds that we get to learn from and work with.
What is the COVID-19 Call Center, and how did you get involved?
The COVID-19 Call Center is essentially a hotline that students can use during the day or “after hours” to get answers to urgent questions regarding COVID-19. While providers, like nurses, from the University Health Center are available during the day to answer those questions, the second-year student pharmacists volunteer in the afternoons and on weekends to provide this service. I became involved because one of my classmates reached out to us and told us that we could help the university by doing this, and I was eager to help in any way I could.
How does someone reach the Call Center, and what types of questions have you answered?
As I mentioned before, students can call the health center during regular hours or after hours. If they call after hours, they will be connected to a student pharmacists’ phone line to receive an answer to their urgent question. I have received questions from callers asking where could they get tested over the weekend, if he or she should quarantine and for how long, or how a person should go about reporting a positive case to their professors or residence hall personnel. This semester, I anticipate receiving more calls about vaccination, like when and where could a person receive the vaccine, possible side effects and when to receive the second dose. Many callers just want reassurance that they are doing the right thing; just providing a listening ear, sound advice and sympathy goes a long way in this role!
How does it make you feel to know you are helping others during these times?
It is honestly one of the best feelings – ever. I’ve always been one to jump at the opportunity to volunteer my time, but now as a student pharmacist, it is more rewarding. Being able to do my part and use my current level of expertise regarding health care to: (1) answer individual’s questions about the virus, (2) provide factual knowledge and awareness about vaccination, (3) help prepare vaccines, or even (4) immunize people is such an honor. I feel like I am doing my part, and it is definitely something I will always reflect on and be proud of.
What are your career goals?
Even before applying to pharmacy school, I knew that I was interested in a “nontraditional” pharmacy path. I still wanted to attend pharmacy school because I was fascinated in learning how and why drugs work. In one of my first-year courses, I learned the influence of human and social issues in the health care system and pharmacists’ role in disease prevention and health promotion. This course revealed health care trends and sparked my personal interest in research concerning minority health related to psychosocial aspects of medication use. I am interested in a career where I can combine my developing clinical knowledge and skills in pharmacy with advanced education and training in the social, administrative and behavioral sciences in pharmacy.
What is your favorite class?
Our P2 curriculum is module-based, so I enjoy sections of the modules more than the entire system or specific disease-state(s). I am really intrigued by drug pharmacology as well as social and behavioral problems/considerations that go into becoming a pharmacist and patient care.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
It seems like such a cliché answer, but I really do enjoy volunteering. I enjoy helping others and providing useful services to members of my community. When I am not in class, studying, or volunteering, though, I love sleeping and watching medical-related TV series.
What are your favorite songs?
My favorite songs right now are "Ooh La" and "Slow Cooker" by John Legend. I love listening to music, and I’d like to think that “I have range.” But— my favorite artist is Beyonce, and I also enjoy listening to Miguel, Megan Thee Stallion and other similar artists.
What three items would you bring with you on a deserted island?
Hopefully I’d be rescued really soon, so I’m thinking short term. But first things first: a water purifier. I am that person who needs 5-6 water refills at a restaurant. I would also bring a satellite phone so hopefully I could get in touch with someone to come and rescue me . . . (quickly!) Lastly, I would bring matches and start a fire to (1) keep me warm until help arrives, (2) prepare food, and (3) send a smoke signal if the phone doesn’t work.