Manchesterx Magazine Pharmacy Magazine 2022 - Page 19

MU | Features

R epresentation matters . While academic studies show this to be true , Ieysha Walker ’ 22 Pharm . D ., didn ’ t need to read them . She knows it from experience .

From an early age , Walker had an interest in health care . Her mother was a registered nurse , and Walker shared her instinct for caring and giving . But she found growing up in a Black community in Indianapolis that role models were often seen through the lens of popular culture . It wasn ’ t easy to find people of color represented in health care careers .
Walker wasn ’ t deterred from pursuing her dreams though , and now she is shifting the lens for others . While pursuing her Pharm . D . degree at Manchester University , Walker – who graduated last May – published two coloring books aimed at children to show them that they can be anything they want .
“ Going into pharmacy school and becoming a pharmacist was always my goal ,” said Walker . “ But it was also a dream that turned into reality . My goal with these books is to encourage our younger generations that you can have dreams of becoming a doctor , a nurse – whatever you dream of – you can do that .”
Published in 2021 , Walker ’ s first coloring book , “ The Future Me Can Be …” shows girls and young women of color that becoming a health care professional is a real career path for them . Her second book , also entitled “ The Future Me Can Be …” carries the same message but aimed at boys and young men of color . The books belong to the Queen Collection and the King Collection respectively , from Walker ’ s own enterprise , Empowered Melanin .
“ I want to encourage Black and brown children ,” said Walker . “ I have several family members who would love to see more shades that look like them in the health care field . There is comfort that comes from that .”
Walker shows fifth grader Sa ’ Nyiah Steward what her “ future me ” could be at Ujamaa Community Bookstore in Indianapolis .
Inspire , motivate and lead are the three words Walker chose to model in her books , which include pictures to color along with job descriptions and roles for doctors , nurses , pharmacists , dentists and biomedical engineers .
“ I really want to introduce kids to the variety of careers out there ,” she said . “ The books are very kid-friendly and easy to understand .”
Late summer , Walker accepted a position as a staff pharmacist and is eager to dive into her career – a career she feels well-prepared for , thanks to Manchester Pharmacy and the encouragement and support from her mother and younger brother . Her books and pharmacy career may seem like divergent paths , but for Walker , it ’ s all part of the same goal of giving back and helping others .
“ I knew right off the bat that I wanted to go to Manchester just because of the family feel . They built a relationship with me ,” she explained .
Walker said she felt that at Manchester she would have an opportunity to really connect with professors and fellow students and would be able to reach out if she ever needed help .
“ And that was truly my experience throughout my entire time in the Pharmacy Program ,” she said . “ Just being able to reach out for help and it being available , even after classes , after office hours . I had that relationship with my professors and other pharmacists .”
Now , as Walker transforms into her own “ future me ” pharmacy career , she remains focused on giving back and helping young people of color know that their career options are not limited by what they see in popular culture . A team of health care professionals – many of them represented in her books – will join her in visiting schools and speaking to children about their careers to show them what “ the future me can be ...” Her books are available through select Indianapolis bookstores and on Amazon - The future Me Can Be ... Walker .
by Matt Walker
Manchester University | ManchesteRx 19