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Salutatorian following in mom’s footsteps

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She learned about her future career in pharmacy by listening to her pharmacist mom tell stories and watching her grandparents take medications for pain, dementia and diabetes.

Whiteland Community High School salutatorian Emily Zietlow for years has been interested in learning how to treat diseases with medications. She will study pre-pharmacy at Purdue University, so she can eventually work at a hospital like her mother did.

Her mom, Kay Lynne Zietlow, was a hospital pharmacist, and she told stories about working with patients, such as a newborn baby who needed a kidney transplant. Medicine dosage hadn’t been calculated for a baby so small, but the medication given saved the infant’s life, Emily Zietlow said.

Her mom’s experiences have inspired her career choice. Like her mom, she wants to work with patients who are in the hospital and be more directly involved in their care.

At the hospital, she could go to patients’ rooms to explain their medications and help treat people who aren’t healthy enough to go to a retail pharmacy, she said.

Her mom’s stories inspired her, but other lessons from her parents have helped her rise to the top of her class in high school. Her mom and dad taught her to push herself to do her best in school, but not to compete with other students.

They wanted her to do her personal best, not necessarily be the best student among her classmates, she said.

Throughout high school, that lesson meant she learned from her own mistakes without comparing herself to other people and figured out how to manage the workloads for rigorous classes, such as advanced-placement chemistry, she said.

For example, she learned not to worry about exams until after taking them, instead of making mistakes because she was stressing out while answering test questions, she said. She never felt pressured to be No. 1 in her class, she said.

“I was the only one pressuring myself to be the best that I could be. And somehow that ended up with me being here,” she said.

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