The 2013 winner of Riverside Health System’s Jean Raines Family Scholarship, pharmacy school student and Melfa native Kaylyn Chandler, already exemplifies the role of an ambitious health care professional, and she is full of hometown pride for the Eastern Shore.  Chandler is a 2008 graduate of Nandua High School.  Her mother, Robin Pruitt, a team member at Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital, told her about the scholarship, and Chandler applied to help fund her graduate degree in Pharmacy.  She is entering her third year of the Doctor of Pharmacy program  at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia while concurrently pursuing her Masters Degree in Business Administration.

The Jean Raines Family Scholarship program was established by Riverside Health System and the family of Jean Raines.  Its purpose is to allow and encourage the children and grandchildren of Riverside Health System employees to pursue educational goals that support both personal and professional development.

Jean Raines, Riverside Health System's Vice President of Education for more than 40 years, passed away in 2002.  She had a meaningful career of teaching and helping others.  Her commitment to lifelong learning and education lives on through the winners of the scholarship established in her name by her small, close-knit family who loved her immensely.

Chandler has achieved the Dean's List every semester since beginning her doctorate program.  She is also serving as the President of the Shenandoah University Pharmacy Class of 2015 and she serves as a mentor to Shenandoah University freshmen.  Chandler completed a Shenandoah University Service Mission Trip to Louisiana in January 2010 to rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, and in the summer of 2013 she went to Nicaragua to participate in a Medical Mission effort.   She actively works with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and has a 9 year old "sister" who is currently living with grandparents as her parents are incarcerated.  Kaylyn has also been involved in the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists and has been an active participant in patient care projects such as the Rite-Aid Diabetes Clinical Day, Medicare Part D Day and Operation Immunizations.

Riverside's Chief Nursing Officer, Terris Kennedy, recommended Chandler for the scholarship.  "I have known Kaylyn since 2004 when she was still a high school student….  Kaylyn was extremely active in high school activities and excelled in her academic studies.  It has been my pleasure to watch Kaylyn grow into a very professional young lady who has made significant contributions to her community, her university and her chosen profession while pursuing her educational goals," Kennedy said in her recommendation letter.  "This is a young lady who is passionate about helping others, has a keen interest in raising cancer awareness and has an interest in improving the future of pharmacy.  Kaylyn never ceases to amaze me with her drive, tireless energy, commitment and passion to contribute," said Kennedy.

Chandler's interest in pharmacy began long ago, when she worked as a candy striper at Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital in junior high.  "I helped unload medicines in the pharmacy and told my mom I wanted to be a 'prescriptionist'."  Her interest in health care continued as she started a Relay for Life Team called "Rx for Hope," and she runs for breast cancer awareness twice a year.

When her father, Foston Chandler, was diagnosed with cancer, she learned a lot about his medications, and it helped that she had begun her pharmacy education.  "Dad was on a lot of meds, and it helped that I could ask my faculty about the side effects.  I hope that as a pharmacist one day I can help answer questions for someone and reassure them about their treatments," Chandler said.  Although her father died two years ago, her experience fuels her passion to help people understand their medicines.

For the past five years, Chandler has worked at a pharmacy as part of her education.  She says that she loves the patient interaction that comes with the job.  The scholarship is helping her work toward her dream.  She expects to graduate in May of 2015.

Published: January 14, 2014