What inspired me to become a pharmacist
Pharm.D. Candidate, Class of 2015
I earned my Associate’s Degree from Front Range Community College in 2004 after graduating from Poudre High School in Fort Collins, Colorado. I spent the next few years working and spending time in a pharmacy which prompted my decision to make the commitment to finishing my formal education.
I began completing my undergraduate prerequisites for pharmacy school by enrolling in the pre-professional program at UW in 2009. I was fortunate to be accepted to the University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy and began to pursue my Doctor of Pharmacy. I will be proud to finish my degree in the spring of 2015.
What inspired you to become a pharmacist?
I was inspired to enroll in pharmacy school because of the outstanding pharmacists and mentors I met while working as a technician. I also recognized that pharmacists are one of the most approachable, knowledgeable, and well-respected healthcare specialists in our world today.
As I have always enjoyed acquiring new knowledge and this profession demands perpetual learning, it seemed like a natural fit for me. Personally, I have also found providing valuable service and care to the community to be very humbling and satisfying. I feel that this career calls to a certain outgoing personality type that is willing to go out of their way to help people. I simply want to be included in that elite club.
I have had excellent experiences with both the student organizations to which I belong and the general pharmacy student body here at UW. I have been an active member in the National Community Pharmacists Association since I was in the pre-professional program and have learned a great deal through community projects with that group. This year, I plan on being involved with more student activities and leadership through the President’s Council, Phi Lambda Sigma, and the Collegiate Response and Preparedness Corps.
I know networking is an important part of a solid pharmacy education and career, so I try to get out as often as I can to meet both people currently working in the profession as well as new people entering it. There can be a lot to learn from personal experience and the experience of others, and I have made some great friends and colleagues along the way. I credit my Pharmacy Focus group for showing me the importance of collaboration and being more socially active.
Comments about the School:
The University has great support systems in place for students. I have made use of the Math Lab, Writing Center, Career Services, and Student Health during my time at UW and have found them all to be very helpful and great services to students.
As for the UW SOP specifically, the small class size really helped me get to know the faculty and become comfortable with them. During my undergraduate work I never went to see instructors during office hours, but now I enjoy interacting with my professors outside the classroom. I firmly believe that they want me to succeed while enjoying my education and that they are willing to go the extra mile to help me do so.
The small class size also helps build camaraderie among the students and I can certainly say that I have made life-long friends while in the program.
Experiences while at UW and the School of Pharmacy:
I have really enjoyed participating in some of the community events while here at the UW SOP. I have volunteered with Albany County Public Health to train in assisting with local public health emergencies. I have also volunteered at the UW Health Fair to help with the Medication Take-Back program. We disposed of old or discontinued medications while compiling valuable research data to be used in the future.
What would you have like to know from a student's perspective before applying to pharmacy school?
The University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy has a wonderful application process that includes a personal interview. The interview process can help show applicants' intangible traits that may not come through on paper. This allows applicants to explain to the faculty why they are passionate about becoming a pharmacist and share their hopes and aspirations for the future. The personal interview is an important part of the application process at the UW SOP and the faculty are sincerely interested in getting to know each applicant individually as a prospective student.
Advice for prospective students considering the UW School of Pharmacy:
I would advise students considering pharmacy school, whether at UW or at another university, to really take stock of themselves and what they want for their future. The commitment to enrolling in a school of pharmacy should not be taken lightly.
Students who haven’t spent any time in a pharmacy should try to volunteer at one or shadow a pharmacist for a day or two. Having some firsthand experience in the profession will go a long way toward building confidence and can help students determine if they are on the right career track. Seeing the importance of a strong education can also help students take learning in the classroom more seriously.
Comments about life in Laramie and the Rocky Mountain area:
This is a wonderful part of the country to live in. This area has something to offer regardless of personality type or interests. Laramie itself is set in a rural environment with a small town feel, but it does not take long to get to larger cities like Cheyenne, Fort Collins, Denver, or Salt Lake City. While the city is immediately surrounded by the plains, there are mountains, lakes, and wilderness areas close by. When it’s warm, there is hiking, biking, or rock climbing at Vedauwoo; when it’s not, there is snowshoeing, skiing, or snowboarding in the Snowy Range. There are ample opportunities for hunting, fishing, or photography in scenic areas and Yellowstone National Park is just a short drive away.
With my remaining time here at UW I will continue to improve on my academic success, professionalism, and leadership roles while promoting the profession of pharmacy. I have found myself stunned by the vast knowledge I have acquired in the short time I have spent in the professional program. Yet, I know there is much more to learn, so it is difficult to say with certainty where my degree will take me after graduation. I may decide to begin with a residency after graduation in order to gain experience in a specialty, or I may decide that I want to jump right in to the working world.
I feel that I can keep an open mind about future career paths because I know the quality of my education will serve me well in whatever profession I choose. Until I make that decision, I will continue my exposure to as many new ideas and situations as possible in order to be a well-rounded student and prepare myself for any opportunity that may arise.