Meet Parker Baro. This graduate of the Class of 2023 is a certified pharmacy technician and worked for a small local pharmacy during his time at UCF. He had the opportunity to serve his community on the frontlines at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic by first taking part in the clinical trials of the Moderna vaccine, and then administering vaccines during the Omicron wave. Following graduation, the Orlando native is planning to leave the heat behind for the mountains and cool air of Denver, Colorado where he’ll start his professional career as a medication reconciliation specialist, a critical healthcare role that helps ensure patient safety.
Degree: Health Sciences, Pre-Clinical Track
What will you be doing after graduation?
My immediate plan is to move to Denver, CO where I will be starting as a medication reconciliation specialist for Denver Health.
What are your long-term career plans?
I eventually would like to get into research, administration, or pharmacy school! For now, I am keeping my options open and doing what I love.
What accomplishment from your time at UCF are you most proud of?
The thing I am most proud of has been being a vaccine advocate for my patients and my community. Combating disinformation and promoting the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines has given me the opportunity to directly impact patients and improve health outcomes as an undergraduate. Additionally, offering COVID-19 point-of-care testing to our community during some of the most intense weeks of the Omicron wave, and sourcing powerful therapeutics to be available locally, has made me immensely proud of the part I was able to play during the pandemic.
I think like many people, the COVID-19 pandemic really had an impact on my mental health. It’s something I had been working on for a while, but the shutdown and quarantine really put me in a difficult spot. Getting through it with the support of my professors, friends, family, and the programs available as a student helped tremendously. There were times I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep working on my major. I am so proud of earning my degree despite all of the challenges I faced during my time here, and I’m proud to be part of one of the classes that persevered despite unprecedented circumstances.
What did you love the most about your time at UCF?
Having such a big community of amazing people has been my favorite thing about UCF. I have loved meeting so many new people and making friends from all around the world. It has given me so many new perspectives and challenged my ideas of what is possible.
What was your favorite class, professor, or experience at CHPS, and why?
It is incredibly difficult to pick just one. All my professors have been incredible during my time in CHPS. One of them would have to be Lecturer Cavaliere from my senior seminar. Both during and after my time in her class, she recognized the work and dedication I throw at everything I do. Having someone there to cheer you on and celebrate your accomplishments is so important, and she was that person for me.