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Achieving Independence



Achieving Independence is student competition designed to foster the budding entrepreneurial spirit among  pharmacy students to one day own their own pharmacy! The program was developed in 2009 as a way to encourage creativity and interest in pharmacy ownership. In 2010, the first competition with only three schools was held and Wilkes University emerged as the winner. In 2018, five schools of pharmacy participated and the competition was impressive. Each team presented interesting concepts for opening a new pharmacy or purchasing an existing one. For information on participating in the 2019 competition, please click the respective links below.


Ultimately, while applauding the achievement of all teams, the judges selected one winning team. 

The 2018 winning team was:



University of Pittsburgh

Congratulations to all of the teams that participated this year:

Wilkes University:
Aleksey Gitelson, Michael Bulkley, Harrison Ferro
Faculty Advisor – Marie Roke-Thomas
Independent Pharmacy Coach – Dr. Stephanie Smith Cooney

University of Pittsburgh:

Spencer Schlecht, Julianna Slomer, Alyssa Lear, Katie Van Golen

Faculty Advisor - Dr. Karen Pater

Independent Pharmacy Coach -Dan Asti



Brooke Barlow, Ashley Barlow, Nicholas Paulson

Faculty Advisor - Jason Schafer

Independent Pharmacy Coach - Jerry Volgraf


Philadelphia College of Pharmacy:

Dhaval Patel, Ina Pajo, Karen Patel

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Henry Schwartz

Independent Pharmacy Coach: Eric Esterbrook



Tyler Thomas, Patrick Ollinger, Ryan Palasia

Faculty Advisory: Robert Maher

We also would like to thank our judges: Rob Frankil, Bill Thompson, Brian Sidone, Ed Bechtel, Deron Shultz


To see past winners and their poster submissions, please click here.

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