McKenna Murcek, a third-year student pharmacist, was awarded the inaugural June Felice Johnson Pharmacy Scholarship for the 2023-24 academic year. This scholarship recognizes student pharmacists within Drake University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (CPHS) who have demonstrated preparation for and an interest in pursuing a career in diabetes patient care and education.

Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, McKenna Murcek has established herself as an exemplary student leader in the PharmD program with an interest in diabetes patient care. Murcek is completing an internship with the Iowa Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Center. In this role, Murcek is expanding her knowledge of diabetes care by collaborating with other healthcare providers to ensure quality patient care. She also works directly with patients to educate them and positively impact their diabetes management. 

In addition to her internship, Murcek is a member of the Rho Chi Pharmacy Academic Honor Society and the Pi Lambda Sigma Pharmacy Leadership Honor Society. She is the current Fundraising Co-Chair and past Vice President of Membership for the American Pharmacists Association – Academy of Student Pharmacists. Murcek is also a New Member Facilitator Co-Chair for the College’s professional pharmaceutical fraternity, Phi Delta Chi. Additionally, she serves as the Sponsorship Co-Chair on the St. Jude E-Board for Phi Delta Chi. 

“I am truly honored to have been selected as the first recipient of this award,” said Murcek. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity the scholarship provides me to continue pursuing my passion for pharmacy and diabetes care. I will use the knowledge I have gained thus far and continue developing my skills to advance the future of diabetes pharmacy practice.”  

The June Felice Johnson Scholarship is funded with a generous gift from CPHS Professor Emeritus of Pharmacy Practice June Johnson. Dr. Johnson joined the CPHS faculty in 1995 and maintained clinical practice at the Iowa Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Center in Des Moines. While at Drake, Johnson was instrumental in creating and coordinating Drake’s unique diabetes concentration. Her research activities focused on diabetes treatment and management, and she also served as a faculty preceptor and coordinator for Camp Hertko Hollow, a youth diabetes camp. She is a former president and spokesperson of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Board of Trustees. Johnson retired from Drake in 2016 and was awarded the Dr. Edward J. Hertko Lifetime Service Award from the ADA in 2017. 

“I hope this scholarship will reward students who have demonstrated a commitment to caring for and educating patients who need expert guidance in the self-management of their diabetes,” said Johnson. “I wanted to support and encourage Drake pharmacy students to be leaders in diabetes care and education, due to the many patients they will provide care for during their careers and the vast number of diabetes medications prescribed for their patients.”