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Urban Pipeline Program (UPP)


Program Overview

The UPP is an eight-week, comprehensive, academic, experiential, mentoring and professional- and social- development summer enrichment program. Guiding the program is the "Theoretical and Conceptual Framework Model for Success" (Awe and Bauman, 2009) that was developed by drawing from the literature on higher education student success and further informed by the Educational Policy Institute's Pathways to College Network Framework.

Although the program is only eight weeks long, the COP continues to track participants longitudinally. One of the methods for accomplishing this is by forming a prepharmacy club that brings the students back to the college to continue with the pharmacy socialization process through increased interaction with faculty and student mentors.

Embracing Diversity

The UIC COP has a long history of commitment to the recruitment, retention, and graduation of URM students and to expanding educational opportunities for this population at the precollege (K-12), undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels. The College's investigation of the problem of low representation of URM students in pharmacy school found that this was due to a lack of exposure among minority elementary and high school students to the pharmacy profession. This, in effect, has placed great limitations on the pharmacy pipeline.

To address these issues and to be better prepare them to be competitive in the admissions process, the UIC College of Pharmacy and the Chicago Public Schools Department of College and Career Preparation partnered with industry leaders to offer a unique and comprehensive pharmacy program for high school students. The goal is to cultivate the next generation of URM pharmacists. The college follows rigorous selection criteria for the students in the program.


      Student Selection Criteria

  • Personal statement (one page maximum) stating their  interest in the program
  • High school transcript
  • A cumulative grade point average of 3.0/4.0 or higher
  • Involvement in at least one extracurricular activity or community service
  • Obtain a Pharmacy Technician License and undergo drug testing.
  • Pass drug test
  • Participate in a joint interview with COP and partner representatives
  • High school junior standing

Program Structure:

  • Participation in a rigorous academic and social enrichment curriculum
  • Socialization into the pharmacy profession
  • One-on-one interaction with clinical pharmacy practice faculty members
  • Comprehensive orientation to pharmacy  career opportunities
  • Provide mentoring opportunities with COP pharmacy students and pharmacists
  • Provide transition from high school to college life skills workshops
  • Acquire job skills experience as pharmacy technicians
  • Exposure to various parameters of retail pharmacy and store operations


       UIC- COP Program Goals

  • Expose all student participants to careers in pharmacy
  • Students to matriculate into the UIC system and eventually to UIC-COP
  • Encourage underrepresented minority high school students to pursue careers in pharmacy
  • Broaden and enrich students’ math, science, and critical thinking skills
  • Provide early socialization to a college of pharmacy environment and faculty members
  • Participate in the pre-pharmacy club
  • Interact with COP students who will serve as mentors and tutors


The College of Pharmacy model program clearly shows that all the stakeholders will benefit with this program.  It is different from other types of high school career exploration programs because the UIC-COP model is backed by strong educational theoretic framework, faculty and administrator commitments that guarantee success.