Morgan Wirtz '18 is using her biochemistry degree and experiences from her time at Stevenson to pursue a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and become an integral part of the pharmaceutical industry.
When it was time for Morgan to choose a school for her undergraduate degree, she saw Stevenson’s Owings Mills North campus under construction and recognized the investment that SU puts into itself and its students. “It told me that the students were a prime concern and the proper tools to make them competitive were going to be [at Stevenson].” Since then, Morgan has been part of the growing opportunities that the University offers firsthand.
Morgan traveled abroad for two different winter-term courses to supplement her studies in the classroom. In January 2017, she went to Hawaii as part of an environmental sciences course, and spent time in Honolulu on Oahu as well as Kona and Hilo on the big island, Hawai’i. “The island of Hawai’i was much less touched by humans. On this island we hiked to several waterfalls, went to an observatory a couple thousand feet above sky level for sunset, and went to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.” In January 2018, Morgan went to Ecuador for an herbal medicine and remedies course. “We toured hospitals and discussed health care in Ecuador as well as traditional holistic medicine clinics that are still very much used. Additionally, we spent several days in the Amazon rainforest at a research center learning about the ecosystem, including plants that can be and have been used as herbal remedies.”
For Morgan’s senior capstone experience, she did research in the Cardiovascular Surgical ICU at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She researched the use of empiric antibiotics in post-surgery patients with unidentified infections and whether these antibiotics were deescalated to narrow spectrum antibiotics once identification and susceptibilities of the organisms were available. Now, in 2020, she was selected for the Johns Hopkins Pharmacy Internship Program. During the summer, she worked in pharmacy administration at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical. “[This] gave me the opportunity to see the inner workings of the inpatient pharmacy as well as the careers of pharmacy leaders. I was a part of several tasks, with my main project being optimization of their real-time inventory system and training the department on proper used of the system. I also tracked patients receiving Remdesivir, answer drug information questions, and participated in various weekly meetings.”
Alongside her classroom studies, Morgan was also a four-year member and two-time captain of Stevenson’s women’s golf team—“an activity that has provided me with self-care during school.”
Morgan is currently in the third year of her Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program at Virginia Commonwealth University. Morgan’s fourth year will involve clinical rotations in a variety of areas including critical care, ambulatory care, and administration; she was even selected to participate in a rotation with the Indian Health Services in Anchorage, Alaska.
“I really enjoy learning about the way medications impact the human body and how the human body affects those same medications. A lot of people aren’t aware that pharmacists are in nearly every aspect of healthcare, from rounding with physicians in hospitals to working in insurance or pharmaceutical companies. With our medication knowledge, we’re able to focus on medication interactions and dosing to ensure the best possible care to our patients.”