New pharmacy student president announced

AJP chats with Erin Cooper from Charles Sturt University, who has been chosen to lead her peers over the next year

Twenty-one-year-old Erin Cooper has been elected as National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association (NAPSA) president for the 2019/20 term.

Miss Cooper is in her fourth year of a Bachelor of Pharmacy at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Orange, where she is originally from.

“It’s nice to go uni where you’re from,” she tells AJP.

“It’s really good, I love the CSU campus and it’s really small which makes it really personal and lovely.”

Miss Cooper is enjoying her studies, especially the idea of patient-centred care.

“I really like the idea of being able to help people in the community, being the first point of contact for many people in Australia,” she says.

“Having that knowledge to help the people in the community is really interesting and it’s enjoyable to learn that.”

She has been working most weekends in a local community pharmacy in Orange for more than three years, since her first year of study.

I want to ensure that people know we are the voice of pharmacy students and can advocate for them.—Erin Cooper, NAPSA President 2019-20

However she’s most looking forward to her intern year in 2020.

“I’m looking forward to putting everything we’ve learnt into practice and excited to learn more whilst in the intern year, learning on the job.

“As everyone keeps telling me, you learn so much more than you do at uni in your intern year.”

In the meantime she hopes to make some positive changes to the NAPSA culture.

“I really want to improve NAPSA and branch membership and involvement, and I want to ensure that every pharmacy student in Australia knows about the amazing benefits and opportunities of these memberships,” she tells AJP.

“I also really want to continue to strengthen NAPSA’s communication and involvement with industry bodies and ensuring that our presence is known. I just want to ensure that people know we are around and that we are the voice of pharmacy students and can advocate for them.”

The newly elected executive directors for the 2019-20 term are:

  • Eliza Herd (University of Newcastle, Newcastle)
  • Tina Blefari (University of South Australia, Adelaide)
  • Aisling McEvoy (Monash University, Victoria)
  • Ella Crust (Curtin University, Western Australia) 
  • Alexandra Ward (University of South Australia, Adelaide)
  • Juliet Contreras (University of Canberra, Canberra)
  • Antoni Ukalović (Curtin University, Western Australia)

Immediate past president Jessica (Han-Fang) Hsiao congratulated Ms Cooper on her new role.

“I am confident that Erin will be able to achieve great things for NAPSA and I step down knowing that the association is in good hands,” she says.

Miss Hsiao had the pleasure of working closely alongside Miss Cooper, who was the NAPSA Publications Chair, over the past year.

“I know first hand that she is committed to the profession and sharing her passion for pharmacy with all students,” says Miss Hsiao.

“I wish Erin and the new board the very best with their upcoming term. I can’t wait to see them grow as a board with so many new faces.”

NAPSA congratulated the outgoing board on their “wonderful efforts over the past year”.

Acting National President of the Guild Trent Twomey congratulated the new Board and Erin Cooper on her election.

“It is wonderful to see such a broad and diverse representation on the NAPSA executive from pharmacy schools across Australia,” he says.

“Our ongoing relationship with NAPSA provides the opportunity for two-way communication on the valued role of community pharmacists and the future of the profession.

“We also welcome the opportunity to work together on the establishment of the PGA/NAPSA Executive Mentoring Group,” says Mr Twomey.

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