Top row left to right: Anthony Bissey, winner of the Philip J. Medon Pharmacy Educator Award and RxTeach Future Oncology Pharmacist Award; Kanita Omerovic, winner of the JSP Pharmacy Scholarship; and Leila Vaki, winner of the Walgreens Multilingual Scholarship. Bottom row from left to right: SIUE alumnus Brentsen Wolf, PharmD; Abigail Schmidt, winner of RxTeach Health and Wellness through Pharmacy Scholarship; and Bissey.EDWARDSVILLE - In its ongoing mission to “prepare pharmacy professionals, scholars and leaders to improve the health and well-being of the region and beyond,” the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy (SOP) awarded more than $30,000 in scholarships this academic year, according to SOP Director of Development Nick Niemerg.

The SOP gave 34 merit and need-based scholarships/awards and three faculty awards totaling more than $31,000. Also, two inaugural awards were made possible by the generosity of SIUE 2021 alumni Brentsen Wolf, PharmD; and Kristen Lindauer, PharmD, founders of RxTeach, noted Niemeg.

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“Our mission is important, and SIUE students have the potential to become experts and leaders in healthcare related fields,” said Wolf. “These are well-deserving students who can promote real change in healthcare initiatives down the road.”

Wolf and RxTeach co-founder Lindauer established their nonprofit to provide clinical, evidence-based medicine and wellness content for students, patients and professionals. They created the following awards for students:

  • RxTeach Health and Wellness through Pharmacy Scholarship
  • RxTeach Future Oncology Pharmacist Award

“Our mission is to give back to the community through scholarships and grants to better the future of healthcare and patient outcomes,” said Wolf. “We focus on improving preventative medicine education in the community and improving outcomes for patients with cancer.”

“We are grateful to all the alumni and friends who have made these awards possible,” said Niemerg. “And we are certainly proud to honor the amazing accomplishments of our pharmacy students and faculty.”

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To illustrate the caliber of students receiving awards, SOP spotlighted the following scholarship recipients.

  • Anthony Bissey - Philip J. Medon Pharmacy Educator Award ($500) and RxTeach Future Oncology Pharmacist Award ($500)

“It has been such an honor to receive these awards,” said Bissey, who graduated Friday, May 3 with a degree in PharmD and education specialization. “My plans are to complete a PGY-1 program at the University of New Mexico Hospital for general clinical training, then to complete a PGY-2 specialized program in oncology. My long-term goals are to work in academia, while practicing in ambulatory oncology.”

  • Kanita Omerovic - JSP Pharmacy Scholarship ($2,000)

“Thank you to those at JSP Pharmacy. Your support is not just financial relief, it’s a vote of confidence in my future as a pharmacist,” said Omerovic. “I plan to graduate in May 2026 with my PharmD and MBA. My plans are to manage and oversee pharmacies to ensure safe and seamless operations in a variety of settings, such as community and clinical pharmacy.”

  • Leila Vakil - Walgreens Multilingual Scholarship ($2,500)

“Thank you very much for your generous scholarship and aid in my academic finances. I have several areas of interest within pharmacy,” said Vakil. “I am considering starting out in community pharmacy, and then pursuing informatics. I am a first-year pharmacy student and currently work as an intern for Walgreens. There have been a lot of changes in the pharmacy field, and I am looking forward to discovering the career options in the next few years. Despite the path I take, this scholarship will be extremely helpful toward my education.”

To contribute to a new or existing pharmacy scholarship or program, contact Niemerg at or 618-650-5043.

Today’s pharmacists improve patients’ lives through the medication and education they provide. Dedicated to developing a community of caring pharmacists, the SIUE School of Pharmacy curriculum is a model that offers students a unique combination of classroom education, research, community service and patient care. The School of Pharmacy’s areas of excellence include a drug design and discovery core; pediatric practice; chronic pain research and practice; and diabetes research and practice. As the only downstate Illinois pharmacy doctorate program, the SIUE School of Pharmacy is providing highly trained pharmacists prepared for the rapidly changing healthcare environment.

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