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Daniel Poppenhouse, CPhT

by Laura Humphrey | Jan 29, 2013

Daniel Poppenhouse, CPhT

Pre-Pharmacy Student, Thiel College; Pharmacy Technician, Giant Eagle Pharmacy, Greenville, PA


When Daniel Poppenhouse weighed 600 pounds, not long ago, he dropped out of eighth grade and was ready to give up on life entirely. After leaving school, he says, he “just let himself go.” He did nothing with his life, and “sat on his front porch for five or six years.” Then on one very hot day, he decided to get up and move.

“It was 95 degrees outside and I decided to take a walk,” he says. “That walk was only a quarter block, but it marked the beginning of a new journey for me.” He gradually increased his distance to three miles daily, and following a new eating program, he has lost 200 pounds.

After his 200-pound weight loss, Daniel entered the Literacy Council of Mercer County program, receiving his GED diploma just three months later. “I was largely self-taught up to this point in my life,” says Poppenhouse.

His journey continued. Next he started at Laurel Technical Institute (LTI). “I went to LTI for another program, but when I looked into pharmacy, I fell in love with it,” he says. “My time at LTI proved to me that I was not only intelligent but had an aptitude for pharmacy work,” he says.

Daniel kept moving. He became a CPhT in September 2011. He says, “being certified gives the technician advantages in the job market. It proves that the applicant is intelligent and capable of doing the work.”

He graduated from LTI as valedictorian of his class, receiving highest honors, including excellence in medical theory and pharmacy knowledge, and recognition for job interviewing skills. “It was far from easy,” he says, “but I emerged with a new career path.”  He was selected the 2012 Pennsylvania Private School Association distinguished regional graduate.

Onward he went. After graduation, he began pursuing a PhamD degree and entered Thiel College in the Pre-Pharmacy Program. He has been on the Dean’s list for his first two semesters, and has completed an internship at UPMC Horizon Hospital in Greenville, providing service to all hospital departments.

He was the 2011 PennHOSA national first place gold medalist in pharmacology knowledge, and the 2011 winner of the Kaiser Permanente Healthcare issues exam. He volunteers for the Literacy Council of Mercer County as a tutor and fundraiser.  

Daniel continues to move forward. Today he is employed at Giant Eagle Pharmacy, as a CPhT, in Greenville, while attending college. Recently, he was keynote speaker at the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) Pennsylvania state leadership conference, when he shared the story of his personal journey toward his future in pharmacy.