Dr. Monk reaping benefits of lifelong learning
GLEN ROSE — When Mallory Daniels Monk graduates Friday from the University of Saint Joseph with a doctor of pharmacy degree, it will be one day after turning 22 and several weeks shy of five years from the time she graduated as the valedictorian of Glen Rose High School.
“I don’t know exactly where I thought I would be in five years, but I certainly have been able to accomplish more in this period of time than I ever thought possible,” she said. “I’m really grateful for the opportunities I’ve come across since graduating from high school.”
Now, she and her husband, Chason Monk, a 2016 graduate of GRHS, are ready for the new adventure that lies ahead.
“It’s bittersweet to be finishing such a large chapter of my life, but I’m excited to continue my education throughout residency and keep learning about the field of pharmacy,” she said.
At the end of June, Monk will be a resident pharmacist at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center in Virginia.
“I feel very fortunate to have been selected for this position as it aligns perfectly with my goals to practice clinical pharmacy,” she said.
The importance of learning and education was instilled in her at a very young age, and she has valued it ever since. She excelled at all levels of school and graduated from GRHS at the top of the class with a 106.613 numerical GPA.
“My mom taught me how to read very early, and once I started reading I just never stopped,” she said. “My love for reading fiction gradually matured into a love for reading about other things that have a more practical, real-world application.”
Monk also saw how her mother Cynthia Daniels, F-PN, who works with Dr. Aimee Flournoy at Lakeside Physicians in Glen Rose, valued education when she earned a master’s degree while Monk was in junior high school.
“Watching her succeed in that way and having her as a role model helped me believe that I could achieve something like that, too,” Monk said. “Seeing the person I admire most accomplish something like that was inspiring.”
And, perhaps it also provoked the desire in her to graduate from high school a year early.
“It was a decision I made together with my family because we mutually agreed I was ready for higher education,” said Monk. “I have always sought out new learning opportunities and finishing high school one year early allowed me to continue learning at a pace that was challenging and rewarding to me.”
She worked for Best Value Medical Center Pharmacy during her senior year in high school and her employment there continued while studying her undergrad at the University of Texas at Austin.
“I loved working there because I got to have meaningful interactions with patients and I learned something new every day,” she said. “My positive experience at Best Value is what led me to choose the field of pharmacy.”
Three months after graduating from high school, Monk, who accrued 52 dual credit hours in high school, earned an associate's degree from Hill College, and that allowed her to graduate from the University of Texas two years later with a bachelor of arts degree in sociology with a minor in business.
In December 2017, she married her high school sweetheart, and while he was in high school, he had joined the U.S. Navy. The newlyweds had a long-distance relationship while she finished up in Austin and he was stationed in Connecticut — the same base where her father, Rob Daniels, was stationed while he served in the Navy years earlier.
For now, Monk said Chason plans to continue in the Navy for at least another four years and he will finish his bachelor’s degree in December.
“I’m really proud of him. He is definitely supportive of all my dreams and I am grateful to have him by my side,” she said. “I’m grateful that I was able to continue my education while also supporting his military career.”
While her husband was deployed for months at a time as a submarine sonar technician, she continued to dive into her studies, and that included earning a master of science degree in health care administration from Texas Tech.
“Submarine deployments don’t really allow a lot of communication, so there were times we went as long as 2 1/2 months without even an email,” she said. “I made a great group of friends who helped me through that time and I tried to stay busy with work, school and volunteering. I came out of that deployment feeling very independent and accomplished. That was when I used the bulk of my newfound free time to take master’s degree classes.”
In her last year of pharmacy school this past year, she did internships at clinical practice sites, and she rotated through various hospitals and ambulatory care clinics in Connecticut and Rhode Island in acute care, psychiatric care and emergency medicine settings.
Just recently, she completed her community pharmacy rotations in Virginia, where her husband is now stationed, and she “administered thousands of COVID vaccines at Walgreens,” she said.
Her graduation may be a signal to the official end of a long educational path, but it won’t be the end to her learning.
“I am definitely a lifelong learner and am glad I have entered a career where new developments are constantly being made,” she said. “There will never be a shortage of new drugs to learn about in pharmacy.”