From judging science fairs in county schools to advocating for patients with polycystic kidney disease in Washington, D.C., pharmacist Mara Weber uses her education and experiences in health care to give back both locally and nationally. She was rewarded with The Ohio State University at Newark Distinguished Alumni Award at the annual alumni and student Homecoming celebration dinner on October 3.

“I am very honored to have been selected to receive this award. The foundation that I received at Ohio State Newark was paramount to my success in my career and education path,” said Weber, who received a Doctor of Pharmacy in 2012 and a bachelor’s degree in radiologic science in 2007 from Ohio State and an associate degree in radiologic science technology from Central Ohio Technical College in 2005. She is currently an antimicrobial stewardship and medication safety pharmacist at OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital. “I would not be where I am now and would not have been able to capitalize on opportunities had I not started at Newark.”

While at Ohio State Newark, Weber was a LeFevre Fellow under the guidance of Assistant Professor Emeritus Robert Klingensmith, PhD. Fellowship recipients receive a scholarship for demonstrated academic success and participate in service learning.

“Dr. Klingensmith was a very influential professor in my journey. How he cared about his community and spreading the message of service learning/outreach was extremely impactful,” said Weber. “This program ignited a fire within me to help my community; I took this and got involved with the Central Ohio Polycystic Kidney Foundation.” She served as the advocacy chair from 2009-2014 and the central Ohio chapter coordinator from 2014-2016 during which time she orchestrated the Central Ohio Polycystic Kidney Disease Walk and exceeded fundraising for the $500,000 goal. She also met with politicians at all levels, including four trips to the nation’s capital, to advocate for organ donation legislation, promote insurance coverage for medication and lobby for research funding.

Weber is also active in education both within her profession and at the secondary level. Prior to becoming a clinical pharmacist, she worked as a radiographer. Integrating her two careers, she presented two continuing education presentations, “Overdose: Receptors to the Rescue” and “Pharmacology: Just the Basics,” with positive reviews to the Ohio Society of Radiologic Technologists in 2018. When a local school needed judges for their senior projects, Weber took on a mentor role that allowed her to share advice for college.

“I would recommend Ohio State Newark to any student looking to start or expand on their college career,” she said. “I have had a nontraditional college experience, and my time at Ohio State Newark made it the most enjoyable experience. The one-on-one interactions with professors and exposure to research sets an amazing foundation, and the opportunities are only expanding.”