Soon to be a college graduate and wife, Kristen Ingold, of Freeburg, Illinois, is ready to start a new chapter in her personal and professional lives.
Ingold said she’s stayed involved at SIUE with various activities, one of which was a vaccine clinic for homeless people in St. Louis. With the help of a professor and holding an internship license in Missouri, Ingold said she was fortunate to have this opportunity.
“[Professor Chris Herndon] has a friend over in St. Louis who reached out to multiple different professors,” Ingold said. “[His friend] would appreciate any help at running COVID-19 vaccination clinics for mental health patients at his pharmacy. I went over there and was handed a box of supplies and [told], ‘Here you go. There’s your room.’ It was just me vaccinating in a room with the patients.”
After spending a Friday vaccinating patients, she said she now has knowledge and experience with giving vaccines, something she didn’t have before. Associate Professor for Pharmacy Practice McKenzie Ferguson said Ingold’s attitude towards helping others has always been there.
“She has always had a very strong drive and personal motivation,” Ferguson said. “She entered our program knowing she was going to do everything in her power to give her the experiences she needed to identify with where she wanted to be and how to get there.”
Her passion to help others is something her professors and pharmacy classmates know her best for. Third year pharmacy student Justin Shiau, of Naperville, Illinois, said he met Ingold when she was the president of the Student Society of Health-System Pharmacists.
“She really helped to ease that transition from becoming president-elect to president. She taught me everything, including how to schedule the meetings that we have,” Shiau said. “That’s how we really had a lot of our interactions through the organization, [with] her mentoring me through the process of becoming the president.”
Ingold plans to move to Virginia, where her fiancé is stationed and works. She said the combination of her fiancé living on the East Coast and a conversation with her boss have made the decision to move across the country easier.
“In a sense I’m kind of chasing him. But ever since I started my job at Memorial Hospital my supervisor told me, ‘Go out and experience pharmacy somewhere else and seize any opportunity you have,’” Ingold said. “Moving into residency interviews and which programs I wanted to apply to, I had no hesitation going out to the East Coast.”
As Ingold transitions into the next phase of her career, she said her focus has turned to pursuing a career in an academic teaching hospital – which is where her residency is.
“I feel as if all of us going into a professional field such as pharmacy will be patient educators, but that is part of everyday practice,” Ingold said. “With this program that I matched with, I will be receiving my teaching certificate. A big aspect of a program that I wanted to match with was the opportunity to teach other pharmacy students, medical residents and pharmacy staff.”
From professor to friend, Ingold said Ferguson has been a mentor for her throughout her four years at SIUE. Ferguson said she noticed her passion and commitment from the first time she had her in class.
“I think she is well balanced. She is motivated in other areas of her life too – her personal fitness, she has a big following in her personal life related with fitness and motivating other people to engage in wellness and activities. I feel like naturally through her personality, it’s a good fit [that] she is giving something to somebody else,” Ferguson said.
Ingold said pursuing a career within academia can be on the retail side – such as working at companies like Pfizer or Express Scripts. She said it can also be within a teaching hospital or in a university setting, which is the side she wants to explore.
“I have a passion for being a preceptor for other pharmacy students as a practicing pharmacist, but then also potentially teaching at a school of pharmacy,” Ingold said. “Choosing the pharmacy path was a little bit on a whim, but it ended up being everything I ever wanted. I absolutely love it.”