South Dakota State University student Madisen Hansen awarded prestigious pharmacy scholarship


BROOKINGS — South Dakota State University pharmacy student Madisen “Maddi” Hansen, of Watertown, has received a prestigious national scholarship through the Kappa Epsilon pharmacy fraternity.

Hansen is one of five recipients of the $1,000 Zada M. Cooper Scholarship for 2023. She is the 22nd SDSU pharmacy student to receive the award in its 63-year history, two in the first 31 years and 20 in the last 36 years. Hansen is the first SDSU recipient since Abigail Sirek in 2020.

Kappa Epsilon was founded by Cooper in 1921 to unite female pharmacy students. Today it has 43 collegiate chapters and 10 alumni chapters initiating female and male members.

Hansen has been involved in Kappa Epsilon since fall 2021, her first year in the professional pharmacy program. In her second year of the pharmacy program, Hansen is serving as president of the chapter, which has 30 members. She also has served as co-chair for the regional Kappa Epsilon retreat.

While Hansen worked at a pharmacy while a senior in high school, that wasn’t her academic focus when she came to SDSU. She enjoyed being around the pharmacy but doubted her ability to fight through the tough science requirements. She loves vocal music, so Hansen opted for a music studies major.

In her freshman year, she joined a sorority and a couple of sorority sisters were chemistry majors. They encouraged her to pursue pharmacy and helped her with the challenging prepharmacy chemistry courses. Hansen rose to the challenge, completing the science courses with high enough marks to be accepted into the pharmacy program.

That was at the end of her sophomore year, so she continued taking courses in her original major and will have all the credits for a music studies degree after she takes a couple Spanish classes in 2023-24.

Since joining Kappa Epsilon, Hansen has been a “go-getter,” according to Scout Forbes-Hurd, an assistant professor of pharmacy practice and a chapter adviser. “She wants to see others around her succeed and works countless hours outside of the classroom for the betterment of the Chi chapter. She’s a leader and someone who I know is going to continue to do big things both within her collegiate pharmacy career and her professional career.”

Hansen said her time with Kappa Epsilon has been beneficial to herself as well.

“Kappa Epsilon has brought me some of my closest friends. I also have been able to gain leadership experience, community involvement and volunteer hours. I am so grateful to be in an organization that is full of members who lift each other up and support each other.”

Among Hansen’s volunteer efforts was serving with 14 other pharmacy students in a Women in Science recruitment event in Sioux Falls for about 700 middle school girls from throughout South Dakota last spring. The SDSU delegation demonstrated how to compound a prescription and explained why becoming a pharmacist is a good career choice.

With two years to go before completion of her Doctor of Pharmacy degree, Hansen is looking at a career in either psychiatric pharmacy or community pharmacy.