scholarship program

Educating the public about the safe use, safe storage, and safe disposal of opioid medications is the Alliance's top priority. We recognize that pharmacists play a critical role in patient education and that is why we have a scholarship program that supports aspiring pharmacy students at the CU Skaggs and at Regis University pharmacy schools. Studies show that pharmacists are among the most trusted professionals in the United States and we believe they can play a crucial role in helping patients use their drugs safely.

The scholarship is open to those who will be a second (P2) or third-year (P3) pharmacy student during the scholarship period. The application period begins in January and ends in mid-March. All finalists are interviewed by a panel of Alliance board members. For information on how to apply, email

2024-2025 Scholarship Recipients

CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy

Tabitha Willden is one of two recipients of the JP Opioid Interaction Awareness Alliance’s 2024-2025 scholarship at the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy. She will be in her in her third year of pharmacy school during the scholarship period.

In her application and her interview Tabitha expressed a genuine passion for assisting others with their healthcare needs. She said, “Pharmacists play a pivotal role in medication management, ensuring the safety and effectiveness of healthcare plans. This commitment ultimately leads to helping individuals and enhancing their quality of life.”

Tabitha shared that she felt an immediate connection to the Alliance’s mission because the opioid epidemic had touched her personally, having lost her father to an opioid-related overdose. “This personal tie drives my strong advocacy for addressing opioid use disorders and promoting medication safety,” she said.

Active on campus, Tabitha volunteers with the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Keep the Party Safe providing education, naloxone and fentanyl test strips at community events. She is also an Opioid Overdose Awareness and Response (Narcan) trainer volunteer with the Anschutz medical campus. In that role, she is actively involved in training healthcare students and faculty on the administration of Naloxone. She is also the Philanthropy chair for Phi Delta Chi, the membership organization for pharmacy professionals.

Tabitha’s demonstrated long-term commitment to a career in pharmacy combined with her clear understanding of the Alliance’s vison of the pharmacist’s role in controlling the opioid epidemic made her a unanimous choice to be one of this year’s scholarship recipients at CU.

Jennifer Ramirez is one of two recipients of the JP Opioid Interaction Awareness Alliance’s 2024-2025 scholarship at the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy. She will be in her second year of pharmacy school during the scholarship period.

In her interview, Jennifer exhibited a clear understanding of the Alliance’s mission, the current opioid epidemic and the significant role pharmacists can play in helping to reduce opioid-related deaths. She noted, “As a future pharmacist, we are the medication experts who are actively involved with patient care, in clinics, community practice, hospital research and more.”

Jennifer stated the COVID pandemic set her on the path to pharmacy. Laid off from her position as a server due to the pandemic, she took a job in a pharmacy where she discovered the many rewards the profession offered. “Gaining all that knowledge and experience increased my passion for pharmacy tremendously.”

Active on campus, Jennifer serves as class treasurer with the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Student Council and served as the P1 Liaison for the National Pharmacists Association chapter at Skaggs.

Committed to acquiring experiences that will further her career, Jennifer works at both a CVS pharmacy and an independent compounding pharmacy. These two settings afford her opportunities to work directly with patients and experience making customized medications for individual patients. Jennifer’s supervisor at the compounding pharmacy noted that she quickly proved she could manage all facets of compounding. Due to her prowess at that work, she was quickly tasked with instructing the pharmacy intern students on compounding processes. This demonstrated dedication to her profession made Jennifer a perfect choice for this scholarship.

Regis School of Pharmacy

Marina McDonald is the recipient of the JP Opioid Interaction Awareness Alliance’s 2024-2025 pharmacy student scholarship at Regis University. She will be in her third year of pharmacy school during the scholarship period.

In her application and interview, Marina noted that as a four-year-old she knew she wanted to be a pharmacist. You might ask how someone that young could be ready to determine her life path but circumstances in Marina’s life led her to interact with pharmacists from an early age and to admire how they were “incredibly knowledgeable, professional, and generous with their time.”

Growing up Marina watched her father deal with injuries from a bicycle accident and battle congestive heart failure. According to Marina, he took “a plethora of medications for his heart condition” and, she said she began to view those medications “as miracles because they allowed him to lead a more normal life.” She said her father credited pharmacists with being the healthcare professionals he most trusted, and that experience set her on a pathway to pharmacy as a means of helping people like her father live better more comfortable lives.

Marina shares the Alliance’s commitment to patient safety saying in her application “Patients are our number one priority, and it is important to me to treat people the way I would want my family members to be treated.” As she studies to earn her degree, she is working as a pharmacy intern at Rose Medical Center. Her responsibilities include medication delivery, medication inventory and preparing syringe orders for the NICU.

Marina said she wants to be part of the generation that ends the opioid epidemic, and that passion and commitment made her a unanimous choice to receive this award.

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