When Matthew Jerrell finished his internship at Scott Memorial Hospital as a high school senior, he left with a mentor, who continues to guide him through his journey to become a pharmacist.
“I think the friendliness of adults wanting younger generations to succeed has helped me achieve my goals in becoming a pharmacy student and future pharmacist,” Jerrell said. “I was lucky in having many opportunities to shadow and learn from influential people.”
Three years ago, Jerrell came to Scott Memorial Hospital through Scottsburg High School’s internship course. There, he met Matt Carter, senior director of pharmacy.
“I met Matt at Scott Memorial Hospital, and he guided me through the process of becoming a pharmacy technician. The mentorship began when he started coaching me through the process of learning what was needed as a pharmacy technician and future pharmacy student,” Jerrell said.
Through the internship program and later working as a pharmacy technician during the summer, Carter showed Jerrell all the areas the hospital pharmacy oversees from storage to distribution to monitoring therapies for patients to hospital protocols. He gave Jerrell a basis on anything a pharmacist should expect working in a hospital setting. Carter said Jerrell took the initiative and asked many questions, which impressed Carter and the staff.
“He’s a very nice young man. He’s thoughtful, considerate, interested, and serious in what we were doing,” Carter said about Jerrell. “He wanted to learn. He would soak up what he could. He was curious.”
With Carter’s mentoring and knowledge in the pharmacy industry, Jerrell was able to prepare for his classes in the direct-admit pharmacy program at Ohio Northern University.
“His guidance helped prepare me the summer before I began classes at Ohio Northern University’s College of Pharmacy,” Jerrell said.
After Jerrell left for college, Jerrell kept in touch with Carter during the last three years, and the two talked about pharmacy school and industry practices. Carter helped guide Jerrell in reaching his goals and offered him an opportunity to work part-time during holiday breaks.
“I encouraged him. He made it easy,” Carter said. “He applied himself and made it easy to reach his goals. He made an effort to keep in touch with us as well.”
When it came time for Jerrell to pick someone to be part of his white coat ceremony, a formal ceremony that marks the halfway point of the six-year pharmacy program, Jerrell chose Carter. The pharmacy students picked someone who has been an influence or a mentor in their journey to be part of the ceremony.
“I was very excited that Matt agreed to make the four-hour haul up to ONU and participate in the white coat ceremony. I wasn’t surprised he agreed because he has always been supportive and this was a momentous occasion,” Jerrell said. “It marks a halfway point in our six years of schooling, and it was a moment I wanted to share with him because he has helped guide me to where I am today.”
“You can tell he’s pursuing his career, and he’ll be successful,” Carter said. “Matthew took advantage of an opportunity that he was given at the hospital. It was his initiative that allowed him to be successful. He took ahold of those opportunities and applied them.”
Carter continues to mentor and teach other students, who are considering careers in health care. The hospital has various opportunities in job shadowing days, internships, the Medical Explorers program, and other career-related events for middle and high school students at Scott County School District 1 and Scott County School District 2 in southern Indiana.
“Our community is what we make it,” Carter said. “It is important for people to continue to develop and to serve our community. We need to look for ways to give back to our community.”