Editor's Note: This story is part of a series focusing on Shawnee High School students who are preparing for future careers through internships as part of Individual Career Academic Plan (ICAP).
Before she goes to school each day, Shawnee High School junior Ella Swantek spends an hour restocking shelves, organizing medications and observing how they're made during her internship at the Clinic Pharmacy in Shawnee.
The 16-year-old said she enjoys working with various medications, learning how they're created, what they do and how they help people.
"I had been looking into...learning the process of creating medicines and I chose a pharmacy internship because it's going to get me as close to that as possible," Swantek said. "Specifically here because it was one of our options that included compounding."
According to pharmacist Tim Barrick, D.Ph. compounding is the process of creating medications and making drugs for people based on a doctor's specifications.
Barrick explained Swantek has the opportunity to observe the compounding process in addition to her other duties.
Swantek, Barrick said, is given quite a bit of trust as most of the medications she handles are valuable.
"It's a big deal and it includes controlled drugs as well as regular drugs. So it's a very responsible thing to be doing," Barrick said.
Prior to her internship, Swantek said she wanted to major and pursue marine biology, but after taking an advanced chemistry class with educator Carolyn Shirley, she decided to explore other options.
"I just really love chemistry a lot and I like the idea of helping heal people, but hospitals really weird me out and I've always wanted a job that would allow me to work in a lab, so I thought bio chemistry would be good," Swantek said.
The junior explained while she's learning various things regarding pharmaceuticals, she's realized she wants to pursue a specific aspect of the field.
"I think this internship really gives me the feel of this business and how it works," Swantek said. "I think that based on this I don't necessarily want to be a pharmacist, but I would rather be working in the lab making and creating."
Barrick said Swantek excels at her internship and is very hard working and because of this the pharmacy has hired Swantek as a part time employee.
"She comes in. She stays on task. She understands the importance of what needs to happen...She's very enjoyable to have here working for us," Barrick said.
Swantek said she works at the pharmacy on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.
In addition to her internship and job, Swantek is a member of the SHS track, field and cross country team, she's in the National Honor Society and she has a large academic work load.
"I think it's a lot easier to have (my internship) done first thing in the morning because I feel like once I have that done I can just do my school work and stuff," Swantek said.
Swantek said during the remainder of the year and her senior year she will be touring in-state colleges and determining what her next step will be after graduation.