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Turner County High School 2019 valedictorian Katelyn Watson is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biology at ABAC to prepare her for pharmacy school in 2021.

TIFTON – After receiving life-changing news concerning the health of her father, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College student Katelyn Watson knew her future had to involve the health care field.

With her recent acceptance to the University of Georgia PharmD program, her future will continue to unfold when she transitions from ABAC to University of Georgia in fall 2021, college officials said in a statement.

Two years ago, the Ashburn native received news that no person wants to hear. Her father, Tim, was diagnosed with cancer. He experienced treatments, radiation and surgery that left Watson’s family nervous and scared, college officials said. Watson said she is so thankful her father survived the scare.

“The doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals that helped my dad really left a lasting impact on my life,” Watson said. “They showed me how powerful your ability to influence others can be.”

Watson began taking ABAC classes through the dual-enrollment program before she graduated as valedictorian of Turner County High School in 2019. She decided to finish her bachelor’s degree in biology at ABAC because of her love of the campus and the trusting relationships she forged with her ABAC professors, she said.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at ABAC,” Watson said. “The classes were lots of fun, and I gained a great deal of knowledge from them.”

Dr. Cyndy Hall, a professor in the School of Arts and Sciences and ABAC’s director of dual enrollment, said Watson is a role model for all high school dual-enrollment students.

“Her determination and dedication were impressive and showed a maturity beyond her years,” Hall said. “Katelyn stayed at ABAC after high school, taking the difficult math and science courses needed for pharmacy school.

“I am not surprised she was accepted to the UGA Pharmacy School. She is an extremely talented and exceptionally dedicated young woman who began working toward her pharmacy goal way before she graduated from high school.”

Watson’s love for the health care field began when she started the Certified Nurse Aid Pathway through Southern Regional Technical College in high school. She narrowed her career down to pharmacy when her dad’s battle began.

“One day, I want to be there for my patients and radiate positivity in their lives, especially during times of hopelessness and difficulties,” Watson said. “I will forever be grateful for the medical professionals who helped my daddy, and one day, I hope that I can do the same for someone else.”

Watson works hard through her studies and sets goals for herself within school and work, college officials said. Her family pushed her from a young age to strive for excellence and has instilled in her the importance of hard work. Her father’s battle gave her a new outlook on life.

“I learned how to let go of my worries and turn them over to God which led me to gain a stronger faith in Him,” Watson said. “My daddy is a living testament as to how motivation, hard work, strong faith, and a strong fortitude can make a difference in the outcome of your life.”

Watson will begin her pharmacy school career in the 2021 fall semester.

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