Katie Herkert Ronald graduated from Gillespie High School in 2000, earning a $500 W.E. Schmidt Family Foundation Scholarship from The Partnership for Educational Excellence.
Katie says she entered the six year, degree specific program at St. Louis College of Pharmacy because of her love for science and math in high school, but with very little research or experience in potential careers. “I would not necessarily recommend my approach to career planning, but I am more than delighted with where my journey has led,” she says.
With her doctorate of pharmacy (ParmD) in hand in 2006, Katie headed off to Marshfield, Wisconsin, to complete a postgraduate residency program. She returned to a position at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (SIUE) where she is now a Clinical Associate Professor as well as a Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist.
“I wear three different hats at SIUE,” she says. “I work as a pharmacist at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield where I work with the SIU School of Medicine Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care to provide clinical pharmacy services to the medical intensive care unit. I help choose, monitor and change medications and doses for patients’ best possible outcomes.” This involves daily bedside ICU rounds with a team of physicians, residents and medical students, and nurse practitioners. I work as well with social workers, physical therapists, and speech therapists.”
Katie also teaches fourth year pharmacy students who come to Memorial for hands-on training. In addition, she does classroom teaching at the pharmacy school at SIUE.
“My newest responsibility is serving as Assessment Coordinator for the School of Pharmacy,” she says. This involves creating assessment tools and strategies to meet accreditation standards as well as helping to collect and organize data needed for accreditation.
Katie is married to John Ronald. They have two sons, Ian 7 and Jase 5. “We love to travel and go camping as a family; in general we love to be outdoors,” she says. As the boys become more involved in sports, so do Katie and John. She is a director of The Partnership and an active participant in their family-owned store, Hicks Maytag in Gillespie.
As to the importance of post-secondary education, Katie says: “I would not have the fulfilling career” without it. “I was truly blessed to have the emotional support of family and friends as well as the financial support of scholarships from organizations such as The Partnership. Every additional dollar helps lighten the financial burden and stress... Working in higher education I see the stress students face every day due to financial burdens, especially as college gets more expensive as each year passes.
“No student should avoid a dream career path due to financial restraint,” she says. “I am thankful for the scholarship I received from The Partnership as it helped lighten my financial burden as well as provide me with a sense of community support. ‘It takes a village to raise a child’,” Katie quotes, “and The Partnership was part of my village.”
In that spirit, Katie has donated $500 to The Partnership’s drive to raise $25,000 to permanently expand scholarships to $1,000. The funds will be used to match dollar-for-dollar established memorial scholarships.
Katie is the daughter of Jospeh Herkert of Gillespie and Donna Ottersburg of Gillespie.