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Overcoming the Odds

Carol Broxton, Pharm.D., is the Northwest Florida regional pharmacy manager of JTJ Medical Supply, doing business as Mail-Meds Clinical Pharmacy & Bliss Rx. Not only does Carol help her community by championing new medical initiatives that make it easier for patients to achieve optimal health, she also serves as an inspiration, proving anything is possible when you work hard to achieve your goals.

Tell us about your childhood.

My mother was only 16 when I was born. We lived with my great-grandmother, who helped raise me and my younger sister as my mom completed her high school education. My mom always told us that education was the key to a better life. And she was right. I watched as her employment options improved as she earned her high school diploma and, eventually, a trade school certification. We still struggled financially, though. I learned at a young age that our family had to make sacrifices.”

Did you always want to attend college?

Yes. But I knew my mom wouldn’t be able to write a check to cover it. She always told me that if I wanted to go to college I’d have to work really hard, make good grades and get a scholarship. I always understood that a scholarship was my only chance. I was never motivated by material things like cars or clothes. Instead, my motivation was the chance at a better life. I worked very hard in high school and, thanks to the Florida Lottery Bright Futures scholarship program, was able to attend Florida A&M University. I was the first person in my family to go to college.”

How did you pick your major?

When I was a teenager, one of my Sunday school teachers worked as a pharmacist. I remember her telling us about her career; it involved a lot of math and science — two subjects I really enjoyed. When I was 14, I entered a local essay competition. The prompt was to write about what we wanted to be when we grew up. I wrote that I wanted to attend pharmacy school. The judges liked my essay and I won a $500 scholarship. That’s where it all began. That first scholarship proved to me that if I kept going and kept working hard, I could achieve my dreams.”

What do you love most about your job?

Being a part of my patients’ lives. I’m able to not only help them with their medications, but their overall health. Sometimes I can serve as an advocate if they need food or housing assistance. I can also connect them with local organizations that may be able to help them get additional care and services. Recently, I helped support the rollout of a new pharmacy program that automates the prescription dispensing process, allowing us to serve more people and freeing up our pharmacy staff to interact more meaningfully with our patients.”

How did your Bright Futures Scholarship set you up for success?

I wouldn’t have been able to attend college without it. I wouldn’t be a pharmacist. I wouldn’t be able to help my patients or serve the community. If it weren’t for Bright Futures, I might have had to attend trade school or enter the workforce and hope I could work my way up. At first, I didn’t understand that the Florida Lottery ran the Bright Futures program, but when I learned how everything worked, I realized that this was my big chance. The door was open and I now had the opportunity to focus on my education, work toward my goals and do something amazing.”

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ABOUT THE FLORIDA LOTTERY / BRIGHT FUTURES The Florida Lottery puts education in the spotlight with the Bright Futures Scholarship Program. The Florida Lottery is committed to helping students shine inside and outside of the classroom so that they can have brighter tomorrows. Since 1988, the Florida Lottery has contributed more than $34 billion to education and has sent more than 800,000 students to college on Bright Futures Scholarships.