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Thanks to a scholarship, pharmacy student can channel her energy and time into advancing her career goals and helping others

Forced to leave home at age 14, Tabbitha Bruck could easily have lost her way. Instead, she says, she decided she just had to grow up quicker.

“I knew I needed money to live, and I was willing to work hard,” Bruck says. She took multiple jobs to see her through high school and her undergraduate degree. “Babysitting, waitressing and lifeguarding — whatever paid more, I tried to pick up the most jobs from.”

While working as a personal trainer in a gym during her biology undergrad, Bruck befriended a client with Parkinson’s disease. His positive personal experience with his pharmacist opened her eyes to the possibilities of a career in geriatric pharmacy.

The Linwood Payne Scholarship she received in her first year at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy gave her the financial ability to pursue her goal as well as powerful validation for all the hard work she had put in to reach that point.

“It was a great feeling to have security, which I didn’t always have in my life,” Bruck says. “Now I don’t feel as pressured to work three jobs, and I can gain better skills and a better understanding of my profession.”

Bruck now only has to work one job alongside her studies, and instead of working to support herself, she has the time and mental space to lend her support to others. She is president of the pharmacy school’s Student Association of Consultant and Geriatric Pharmacists and volunteers with Project CHANCE, a community outreach initiative that conducts medication reviews and health checks for the local homeless population.

Bruck knows the value of a strong work ethic and is proud that she is already using the resources at her disposal to give back in her own way.

“I’m out here working my hardest to gain an education so that, in the future, I can help people just as I was helped myself,” she says. “Even though I don’t have a lot of funds right now, I do have knowledge and abilities that can help me to support people just as I was supported.”