Alumni Spotlight - Katelyn Sylvester '00
Katelyn (Woods) Sylvester is a 2000 graduate of Lexington Christian Academy. She graduated from Calvin College with a degree in Biology and went on to receive a Doctorate in Pharmacy from Northeastern University. She is currently a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA.
What brought you to LCA?
My younger sister went to LCA first as a sixth grader because of the reputation for providing a Christian education. My parents felt it was important to sacrifice whatever the cost to ensure that we were in an environment where we would flourish and build a strong Christian foundation. I followed the next year after letting her test out the waters.
Do you look back at any particular experience at LCA that shaped who you are?
There are so many experiences at LCA that shaped who I am today, but many of my memories and character building moments were tied to sports. Although I had limited experience playing sports prior to LCA, I was able to have a significant role on three sports team and learn things about myself that have served me well throughout my life and career. I learned how to persevere through tough times with the “tough as nails” award in soccer, I learned work-life balance by trying to balance three sports a year with AP classes and leadership roles, I learned that the best teammate/coworker is one who makes everyone around them achieve their highest potential rather than looking to make a name for themselves, I learned what a great coach and mentor is and I learned what it feels like to win and lose with grace and dignity!
How did LCA shape your faith?
My family were relatively new Christians when we came to LCA and I had not yet established my own faith. At LCA I was surrounded by mentors and peers that modeled Christianity for me (in addition to my parents). This was also the first time that I really studied the Bible and learned spiritual disciplines like prayer and daily devotions.
What are your current responsibilities at your work?
I am a clinical pharmacy specialist and spend most of my time on the Hemostatic and Antithrombotic Stewardship service and in the Emergency Department. I also coordinate the pharmacy residency program for 10-14 residents per year. In my clinical role, I act as a consult service, ensuring the appropriate and optimal use of medications in order to maximize patient outcomes, minimize adverse events and minimize the use of high cost medications. As the residency coordinator, I recruit residents for each academic year, mentor them, ensure that we maintain accreditation standards and monitor the day-to-day progress of the program.
How did you get into this field?
I graduated from Calvin College as a Biology major and knew I wanted to enter the medical field in some capacity. After working as a health-care consultant for two years implementing electronic medication records, I realized that I was captivated by physiology, pathophysiology and specifically how medications interacted with the human body. However, I also wanted a career where I could balance my work-life with being a mom since I had watched my mother succeed at both working and being a very involved mom.
What are some challenges in your job?
I work for one of the top teaching hospitals in the country and am surrounded by very intelligent, competitive, hard-working and driven people. This atmosphere is exciting and addicting, but it is hard to maintain work-life balance (ironically) and not lose focus on your own priorities. Each day there are opportunities at work that will push my career forward, but I have to determine if that is in the best interest of my family and our long-term goals.
How does your faith shape your work-life?
My boss once asked me what I want my legacy to be and after praying on that for a long time, I determined that I want to develop great pharmacists who are good practitioners and simultaneously love what they do. In my role I not only get to provide high quality care to patients, but I have the ability to mentor many new pharmacists and residents which will hopefully impact their lives and the pharmacy profession for years to come. I want to develop their skills and talents so that ultimately my success is not measured by what I have accomplished, but by what those around me have accomplished. This is what I feel my calling in the profession of pharmacy is and where I think my faith allows me to step outside of myself and my own goals to achieve something bigger and more sustainable.
Can you brag a bit about your achievements?
Beyond the doctorate of pharmacy degree, I am also a board certified pharmacotherapy specialist. I have published six manuscripts and was the lead author on four of them. I was awarded the GEM (Going the Extra Mile) award last year from the department of pharmacy and voted “most likely to brighten your day.” But the achievement that I would most like to brag about is being the mom of the two cutest, smartest, silliest boys in the world! If you ask me about them I can show you lots of pictures.