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Alumna’s Book Aims to Help Young Children Understand the Hurt of Bullying

By Lauren Whetzel-Siburkis

Courtney MonteparaRecent pharmacy graduate Courtney Montepara PharmD’15 has a passion for helping others lead a healthy and fulfilling life. Rather than follow a traditional career path after graduating from University of the Sciences last spring, the newly-minted healthcare provider took a stance against bullying and published her first children’s book, “Sam the Porcupine and His Quills of Courage.”

“My book is about a porcupine named Sam who is teased based on his appearance,” said Dr. Montepara. “I want kids to know that it is not acceptable to bully, and it’s my hope that children who feel like an outcast, such as Sam, can learn to embrace their uniqueness.”

Dr. Montepara felt motivated to help make a difference in children’s lives after reading a children’s book in her spare time. She was recently featured in an author spotlight segment on ABC27 and had the opportunity to discuss her background and share details about her book. She explained that her story has a message for all ages and incorporates relevant issues children face today, such as the struggle of acceptance, power of kindness, and importance of recognizing the beauty within.

“If my book helps improve the life of one person, then the time, energy, and money I spent was well worth it,” she said. “I love kids and believe it is important to reinforce these types of positive messages.”

Although the writing and publication process has tested Dr. Montepara’s time management skills, she credits her ability to stay organized to her time at USciences, juggling a rigorous academic schedule and personal life.

“Pharmacy school was demanding but extremely rewarding because it pushed me to work hard and always strive to do my best,” she said. “The education I received from USciences gave me a solid foundation that I will continue to build upon, and it has equipped me with the knowledge and skills that are vital in becoming a successful professional.”

Dr. Montepara is currently a first-year pharmacy resident at the Atlantic Health System in Morristown, New Jersey, and plans to pursue a second-year residency in cardiology once she is finished. As much as she has enjoyed the positive attention her children’s book has received, Dr. Montepara said she is focused on her goal of becoming a clinical pharmacist cardiology specialist with a role in academia.

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