Epplen Named PLS Outstanding Chapter Advisor of the Year
Congratulations go out to Kelly Epplen, PharmD, an associate professor in the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy, for being nationally recognized with the 2015 Phi Lambda Sigma (PLS) Outstanding Chapter Advisor Award.
"Anytime you are nominated by your students it means more than any other type of recognition you can receive. I really appreciate it and am truly honored,” Epplen says of the award, which was presented to her March 28 at the PLS 50th anniversary gala in San Diego.
Also known as the Pharmacy Leadership Society, Phi Lambda Sigma is a fraternal organization that was formed in 1965 to promote the development of leadership qualities through peer recognition. Only 10 percent of a pharmacy school’s population can be inducted, by student member nomination, and the requirements for nomination are rigorous. At the Winkle College of Pharmacy, for example, there are slots for 40 members; however, the membership hovers around 20 annually.
"It really does take a lot to be inducted into PLS. These are students that are involved in multiple organizations and they are highly involved,” says Epplen, who was inducted as a student herself in 1995. She became the chapter’s advisor when she joined the UC faculty in 2009.
As with other organizations, Phi Lambda Sigma operates through a system of local chapters and is designated by Greek letters. To date, a Phi Lambda Sigma chapter has been chartered at 103 of the 125 schools and colleges of pharmacy in the United States and Puerto Rico. In 2006 the PLS established an Outstanding Chapter of the Year award to recognize an advisor who has promoted student leadership, actively contributed to the achievements of their local chapter and served as a leader and mentor through their service to the profession and/or the community.
Epplen’s nomination was made by third-year PharmD student and PLS member Tyler Vest: "I nominated Dr. Epplen because she serves as a gold standard of what faculty advisors should aspire to be. Interacting at her practice site and in the classroom has been a tremendous learning experience. She is consistent, fair, organized, and devotes a tremendous amount of time to impacting the professional development of the students she encounters.”
Although Epplen devotes her time and energies to the chapter—providing direction, assisting with the induction ceremonies, arranging guest speakers—she says it’s the students who are the leaders.