Brandyce Coes is going places after graduating Claflin University on May 12. She actually had her choice of a lot of places to attend pharmacy school. The University of Michigan wanted her and so did Auburn University. Nova Southeastern University was in the Coes sweepstakes as well.
But the tennis enthusiast from Warner Robins, Georgia will ultimately attend the Medical University of South Carolina in pursuit of a Doctor of Pharmacy degree – on a full scholarship no less.
“For me, Claflin University has really prepared me so that whatever I wanted to do professionally it wouldn’t be a problem,” said Coes. “It provided me with the knowledge and opportunities to be competitive.”
This summer before attending MUSC, Coes will conduct the second year of her $25,000 UNCF/Merck Undergraduate Research Scholarship Award, which allows her to conduct research at the pharmaceutical giant’s facilities.
In 2011, she worked on purifying compounds to make pain relievers more effective while reducing side effects. She says it provided great chances to network and form lifelong relationships.
“I’m getting a raise this summer,” she said happily.
But before that, Coes is enjoying her final moments as an undergraduate and is excited about the upcoming Commencement Convocation. When her name is called, Coes said she will have many thoughts running in her mind.
“I am so thankful that I came to this institution,” Coes said. “There are so many really incredible people that have helped get to this stage in my life.”
She especially wanted to thank Dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Dr. Verlie Tisdale, Department of Chemistry Chair Dr. Angela Peters and Assistant Vice President for Leadership Development Dr. Roosevelt Ratliff for their assistance.
Coes worked on a U.S. Department of Defense funded project with Peters that aims to deactivate the toxic compound in anthrax.
“Brandyce is one of those exceptional students you always dream of teaching,” said Peters. “She is very talented and passionate about research. The sky is the limit for her.”
Ratliff was instrumental in securing a summer internship at Harvard University for Coes in 2010. At Harvard, she studied inflammation as it relates to asthma.
She was actively involved on campus a member of the Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College, National Society of Leadership and Success, American Chemical Society and the Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society.
Coes wants to own a pharmacy that serves an underserved community. She always desires to give back to Claflin by establish an endowed scholarship for aspiring pharmacy students one day.
Her favorite memory at the time was when an article appeared on the University Web site last spring announcing her UNCF/Merck Scholarship. “I called my mom and the next thing I know is everybody back home had printed a copy of the article. I started getting tweets from my friends. It was really exciting,” she said.
Coes is leaving Claflin the same way she entered – excited.
She first came to the Claflin campus when she was in high school. She attended a summer science camp at the University sponsored by the National Nuclear Security Administration, a branch of the U.S. Department of Energy.
“I feel in love with the campus. I met with Dean Verlie Tisdale and she assured me and my mom that this was the place to excel in sciences. I can confidently say four years later that Dean Tisdale was more than right about that statement,” Coes said.