About the School
Pharm.D. Candidate, Class of 2014
Bachelor of Science, Biology/Anthropology with Chemistry minor 2008, Western Washington University
What inspired you to become a pharmacist?
As you can guess from my degree, I have always been very interested in the sciences—pretty much all of them—and I find people fascinating. Pharmacy seemed like an easy way to integrate both of those interests. And after looking into the Pharm.D. degree, I was really happy about the numerous options I will have for career paths after I graduate.
Why did you want to attend the UW School of Pharmacy?
A friend of mine from high school was actually studying in his third year at the UW SOP and had nothing but good things to say about the school and the program. I thought that Wyoming would be a nice change from the same scenery I had been around for the previous five years and I also liked the small class sizes at this School of Pharmacy. I like the small-town feel of Laramie and the inherent closeness not just within a single class, but within the whole School of Pharmacy.
As far as official research goes, I was the primary author on a poster for a literature review regarding the difficulties in treating patients with mental illness during my first year at the UW SOP. I was also a co-author on a poster looking at the usefulness of students in helping respond to emergency situations within a community.
I am currently working to develop an assessment tool for patients with mental illness to determine their satisfaction with the health care they receive and especially evaluate the impact that Medication Therapy Management or MTM services can have on their health outcomes.
I believe the biggest impact these involvements will have on my future is to show that I have had an interest in helping patients with mental illness since early on in my schooling, which hopefully will help me to receive a residency in an area that I find so intriguing.
I am currently a member of five of our six pharmacy-specific organizations: American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP), Phi Lambda Sigma-Pharmacy Leadership Society (PLS), Student chapter of the American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists (SSHP), Phi Delta Chi-Social Fraternity (PDC), and Rho Chi-Pharmacy academic honor society (PX). I have had the pleasure and privilege to hold a number of officer positions in these groups that have allowed me to take on more responsibility and get more involved. I am also a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society on campus.
The importance of involvement is two-fold for me. The main thing is that getting involved is the single greatest way to meet new people! The pharmacy profession is SUCH a small world and my involvements have allowed me to not only meet new friends and mentors on campus, but regionally and nationally I have met people involved in sites I would love to work at or pursue a residency at in the future. To me that is absolutely invaluable! The second major benefit for me is trying to better myself, my interpersonal skills and my management styles. By taking on leadership roles and official positions, I have been able to hone in on the skills I need to spend more time in developing and I have been able to get in touch and stay in touch with people who can help me develop them.
Comments about the UW School of Pharmacy:
I honestly love the UW SOP. Our class sizes are half that of other programs I have heard about and I think this allows us so many opportunities that students from larger programs don’t have. We get to know each other much better, we are able to stand out to professors much easier, and we have amazing access to extracurricular activities that I think would be harder to participate in if I were at a larger program.
Another thing that I truly cherish about the UW SOP is that our faculty REALLY want to see us be successful. I appreciate that they challenge me to always accomplish more than I have and it makes me feel confident that our graduates are coming out of this program well prepared with the knowledge they need in order to be successful and serve patients well in the future.
Many potential students are a little put off by the “disconnected” feeling that Laramie has since the nearest towns are about 45 minutes away. I always try to point out to people that there is so much to do around Laramie that you can keep pretty busy if you don’t get to leave town very often. The campus has an Outdoor Center that offers a variety of outdoor gear for rent so you can go climbing in the summer and snow-shoeing in the winter. The fact that Vedauwoo hiking, camping, and fishing spots are a mere 20 minutes away and the Snowy Range Ski area is only slightly further makes Laramie and idealistic place for anyone who loves the outdoors!
Experiences while at UW and the School of Pharmacy:
I honestly probably cannot enumerate the experiences I have had while at the UW SOP, but I will do my best here. I have had the opportunity to co-author grants and research posters regarding our student involvement in Emergency Preparedness drills at the university culminating in a seat on the planning committee for the Cowboy Ready Drill that took place last spring and involved hundreds of students and faculty. I was chosen to represent the College of Health Sciences at the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2011. I was also able to attend the 2011 National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Day on Capitol Hill during which I and five other students met with Wyoming Representative Cynthia Lummis, and Senators Barasso and Enzi (or their staff) to discuss the importance of the role of the pharmacist in the healthcare team.
In the past two years I have gone to national and regional meetings that were largely able to be paid for by the Associated Students of UW and the SOP. These meetings took me to: Denver, Colorado; Seattle, Washington; Albuquerque, New Mexico; New Orleans, Louisiana; Baltimore, Maryland; Sheridan, Wyoming and in the next year they will include Las Vegas, Nevada; San Diego, California; Fargo, North Dakota; and Omaha, Nebraska. Traveling to all these places is wonderful, but really the networking opportunities and the chance to interact with practicing pharmacists and hear about “real life” has been the most intriguing part of it all.
Finally, through involvement in many associations I have been able to get direct contact with patients already and have been able to practice my interactions with them as well as my counseling skills. I have been able to work at our student-run health fairs and do blood sugar screenings and counseling for patients as well as bone marrow density scanning. Next year, I hope to be involved in lipid/cholesterol screening and counseling and additional diabetes-related screenings. I have also been able to be involved with poison prevention presentations to kindergarteners in Laramie.
What would you have liked to know from a student’s perspective before you applied to pharmacy school?
Most students I know applied to more than 10 pharmacy schools. I never even considered it because I had moved to Wyoming to go to the UW School of Pharmacy, applying anywhere else for me would have been moot. But for students trying to figure out where to go, I would say do not hesitate to research all of these programs and schools, talk to the students there as much as possible instead of just the staff. Get in touch with the school before applications are due because they will be more than HAPPY to answer questions or give you a tour of the program (and if they aren’t, maybe that is a sign that you wouldn’t want to apply there).
Otherwise, I would say once you know what you want, go for it 110% and don’t stop until you’ve achieved it!
Advice for prospective students considering the UW School of Pharmacy:
This goes along with what I have already said, but I would strongly advise anyone considering the UW School of Pharmacy to get in touch with our program and ask for a sit down meeting with a student (I’ll volunteer as long as it’s not an hour before an exam!) to ask them questions about the program, the stuff that really matters to you. You can read reviews and ratings and websites until your head spins, but with our program just come see us and hear about our successes and you will be hooked!
Comments about life in Laramie and the Rocky Mountain area:
I think this area is one of the most beautiful areas you could possibly live in. Other than an ocean, we have nearly every type of terrain within a few hours drive! Gorgeous views, great sunsets, awe-inspiring thunder and lightning storms, the sun shining in January (even though it’s -30 F), and the snow-capped Snowy Range are truly lovely! And personally, I like to think that I don’t mind when the weather is bad or cold or unpleasant because if it was nice all the time it would make class and study time much less pleasant.
After I graduate and receive my Doctor of Pharmacy degree, I hope to spend at least one year in a post-graduate year 1 (PGY1) residency and hopefully pursue a second, more specialized year in a PGY2 residency in psychiatric pharmacy or possibly pediatric. I am excited for my 4th year rotations because I hope that experience will help me to further decide what I would like to do, or at least what I would not like to do!