Dr. Lydia Aguilera, assistant dean for the college’s Cooperative Pharmacy Program (CPP) in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV), has been named recipient of a 2015 College Excellence Award for Mentoring for the College of Health and Human Services at the University of Texas-Pan American.
Aguilera, who also serves as chair of the Cooperative Pharmacy Department at UT-Pan Am, was formally recognized with a plaque and a $1,500 stipend at the UT-Pan Am Faculty excellence Awards Luncheon in May.
Aguilera mentors students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students have monthly meetings with “Dr. A.” where she addresses concerns and engages with all CPP students. She is the faculty advisor for the Bronc Pre-Pharmacy Association on the UTPA campus.
For the past five years she has coordinated a community health fair involving graduate and undergraduate student participation. In Fall 2014, she successfully transitioned to an interprofessional health fair involving students of various disciplines. Dr. Aguilera has mentored and encouraged graduate pharmacy students to take advantage of research opportunities. Consequently more than 20 students have presented posters at national, state and local conferences.
Serving as a mentor has always been a priority to Dr. Aguilera who has served as a pharmacy student preceptor for more than 20 years. Pharmacy students who have been under her tutelage have gone on to become successful pharmacy practitioners and advocates for the RGV community. Many have continued on to post-graduate training via residency programs. Under her leadership the CPP has achieved national notoriety by winning the Exelencia in Education award.
Dr. Aguilera’s influence is seen in her students beyond their graduation as witnessed by quotes from former students in the letters of nomination they wrote on her behalf.
Dr. Carolina Rodriguez, Class of 2014: “Who knows where I would be or what I would be doing. I know, however, that I love my job, my profession.. and I owe all of that to her…I still call her and ask for her guidance …she always answers.”
Alyna Garza, UTPA Class of 2015 Biology (UTMB Fall 2015): “[She] opened my eyes to the many careers in the medical field and has been key in the pursuit of my dream to become a physician.”
Stephanie Garza, Class of 2015: “I would not be where I am if not for her mentorship. She is so much more than a program director. She is family.”
Dr. Rene Verduzco, Class of 2011: “A mentor who stops at nothing to ensure student success.”