ABAC Student Uses Painful Experience as Incentive for Career as a Pharmacist

Staff Report

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

After receiving life-changing news concerning the health of her father, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College student Katelyn Watson knew her future had to involve the healthcare field.  With her recent acceptance to the University of Georgia PharmD program, that future will continue to unfold when she transitions from ABAC to UGA in Fall 2021.

Two years ago, the Ashburn native received news that no person wanted to hear. Her father, Tim, was diagnosed with cancer. He experienced treatments, radiation, and surgery that left Watson’s family nervous and scared.  Watson is so thankful her father survived the scare.

“The doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals that helped my dad really left a lasting impact on my life,” Watson said. “They showed me how powerful your ability to influence others can be.”

Watson began taking ABAC classes through the dual enrollment program before she graduated as the Valedictorian of Turner County High School in 2019.  She decided to finish her bachelor’s degree in biology at ABAC because of her love of the campus and the trusting relationships she forged with her ABAC professors.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at ABAC,” Watson said.  “The classes were lots of fun, and I gained a great deal of knowledge from them.”

Dr. Cyndy Hall, a professor in the School of Arts and Sciences and ABAC’s Director of Dual Enrollment, said Watson is a role model for all high school dual enrollment students.

“Her determination and dedication were impressive and showed a maturity beyond her years,” said Hall. “Katelyn stayed at ABAC after high school, taking the difficult math and science courses needed for pharmacy school.

“I am not surprised she was accepted to the UGA Pharmacy School. She is an extremely talented and exceptionally dedicated young woman who began working toward her pharmacy goal way before she graduated from high school.”

Watson’s love for the healthcare field began when she started the Certified Nurse Aid (CNA) Pathway through Southern Regional Technical College in high school. She narrowed her career down to pharmacy when her dad’s battle began.

“One day, I want to be there for my patients and radiate positivity in their lives, especially during times of hopelessness and difficulties,” Watson said. “I will forever be grateful for the medical professionals who helped my daddy, and one day, I hope that I can do the same for someone else.”

Watson works hard through her studies and by setting goals for herself within school and work. Her family pushed her from a young age to strive for excellence and has instilled in her the importance of hard work. Her father’s battle gave her a new outlook on life.

“I learned how to let go of my worries and turn them over to God which led me to gain a stronger faith in Him,” Watson said. “My daddy is a living testament as to how motivation, hard work, strong faith, and a strong fortitude can make a difference in the outcome of your life.”

Watson will begin her pharmacy school career in the 2021 fall semester.