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Christina White prize caps off big year for pharmacy's top student

Wednesday, 1 March 2017 9:53am

Abbey Evison receiving the Christina White prize at the School of Pharmacy's prizegiving in December, from Associate Professor Natalie Medlicott. (Photo credit: Alan Dove Photography).

I wanted to do something that involved science and something that involved people.

2016 was a big year for then final-year pharmacy student Abbey Evison who received the Christina White Prize for the best overall achievement in the Bachelor of Pharmacy degree at prizegiving.
Currently working through her internship at Christchurch Hospital, Abbey says she was genuinely surprised and also honoured to receive the prestigious award.

“I worked really hard throughout my degree and it was an exciting end result.”

Just a month prior to the prizegiving, Abbey travelled to Rarotonga as part of a research team which put its research findings into practice (Pharmacy Today, ‘News’, 7 December 2016).
The elective project, which ran the course of the university year, looked at topical treatments for pityriasis versicolor – also known as white spots – a fungal infection of the top layer of the skin that affects a large proportion of the Cook Island population. “It was a really eye-opening experience and we made some great relationships with the [local] pharmacists,” Abbey says. “It was really interesting and it was cool to go over to Rarotonga and be able to put it [the research] into context.”

The 22-year-old says she was reasonably open-minded as to what she was going to do career-wise when she began her first year health sciences course at Otago.
“I wanted to do something that involved science and something that involved people.” It wasn’t until she spent some time working in a community pharmacy during that first year that she found out more about pharmacy and realised it was something she really wanted to do. One of her favourite aspects of the course was the clinical papers she undertook in both her third and final years. “I really like the clinical side of things.” She also enjoyed the support of school staff throughout her degree. “Overall the staff were really inspiring and great role models and I always felt well supported by everyone.”

Abbey was working in the pharmacy’s sterile unit at Christchurch Hospital when talking to Pharmacy Today. “It’s amazing, I’m just really happy, the people are so welcoming and so supportive.”
She had been aiming to secure an internship in a hospital pharmacy. “The hospital environment is exciting to work in as all the health professionals work together.”

Related story: Pharmacy students spotlight ‘white spots’ in Cook Islands

Article written by Liane Topham-Kindley for Pharmacy Today, March 2017