"After graduation, I hope to complete a residency to specialize in pediatric pharmacy and work as a clinical pharmacist in a hospital environment."
Pharm.D. Candidate, Class of 2016
What is your hometown:
Please describe your background and education. Are there any family members in healthcare?
I was raised and attended high school in a small town in Wyoming. I did my undergraduate at the University of Wyoming where I studied pre-pharmacy and was admitted into the pharmacy program after 2 years with no official undergraduate degree. My parents are both teachers so I was the first in my family to pursue a degree in the healthcare field.
What inspired you to become a pharmacist?
When I was younger, I wanted to go to medical school but quickly realized I was not cut out to handle some of the hands-on aspects of being a physician. I knew I still wanted to work in the healthcare field but I was not sure what I wanted to do. When I was a junior in high school, my mom had a kidney transplant and I was able to watch how much she relied on the pharmacists working on her care team. It was truly a side of the profession I had never seen before and it was really my first encounter with clinical pharmacy. Based on this experience I decided pharmacy would be a good fit for me as it would allow me to work in the healthcare field and have a job where I could get satisfaction from helping patients on a daily basis while using knowledge related to subjects I enjoy like physiology and anatomy.
Why did you choose to apply to the University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy?
I chose to apply to the UW SOP because of the support system I had established during my undergraduate years at the university. I had found friends and study partners in the pre-pharmacy students I knew and I had developed a relationship with my advisor where I felt supported. I knew pharmacy school was going to be difficult and I wanted to have as much of that support as possible when I began school. In addition, I had become involved in several organizations and projects on campus at UW and I wanted to continue my work in those areas.
How would you describe the School to prospective students? What advice can you give to incoming students?
Pharmacy school is very different than undergraduate studies. It is a big commitment, but it has a big pay off as well. The best thing you can do is work hard and take pride in the fact that you have done the best you can. You cannot give more than 100% and the sooner you realize that, the less stress you will have to deal with. Find people who support you and let them help you through the rough patches in school and life. Work with your classmates, teachers and advisors and reach out to those people when you need help. Finally, enjoy the little moments and make as many memories and friendships as possible. Learning the material is incredibly important but learning how to care for patients and people in general will be just as important for your future career.
What has helped you the most to get where you are and to be successful in school?
I think the biggest thing that has helped me in school is taking things one day at a time. It is easy to become overwhelmed but the best way to deal with this is to focus on the tasks you have to get done for the immediate future and at the end of the day you will have done more than you thought you could. It sounds simple but it was a hard lesson to learn. However, once I did, it made school feel more manageable and enjoyable. The other thing that I think has really helped me is getting involved in extra-curricular student organizations. Staying involved has helped me to stay motivated and engaged when I felt overwhelmed with classes. It has also allowed me to work with and form friendships with other students, which has really had a positive impact on my experience in college in general.
How has the small class size enhanced your education?
The small class size at the UW SOP has made the process of attending pharmacy school a lot less intimidating. I feel like I can go and get help from any professor when I am struggling to understand a concept, not just the professor who is teaching that particular class. Many of the faculty members specialize in different areas and the fact that we are able to meet with them on a one-on-one basis and ask them about things we are interested in is a huge advantage. I think the smaller class size also allows the class as a whole to come together and it has really helped enhance the environment that we get to learn in.
How have your classmates made a difference in your pharmacy school experience?
My classmates have made a big difference in my pharmacy school experience. As a class, you spend a lot of time together and you start to work as a group to make sure everyone is successful. I have developed friendships that serve as one of my biggest support systems both inside and outside of school. Being involved in student organizations has allowed me to form friendships with older students who have been wonderful mentors and role models for me as I have progressed in the program.
What opportunities have you had while at the school (faculty mentorship, research, conferences/meetings, presentations)?
One opportunity that has been very beneficial for me is the opportunity to work with both my pre-pharmacy advisor and my pharmacy advisor who have both served as incredible mentors for me in preparing me for pharmacy school itself as well as for opportunities post-graduation. I have been able to participate in student organizations where I have been able to help incoming students with the pharmacy school interview process as well as help plan and run the Annual Fall Into Good Health Fair and the College of Health Sciences Interprofessional Challenge. I have been able to give various presentations both in the classroom and in other settings as well. Last summer, I was able to travel to Honduras with a University of Wyoming Medical Brigade and work in the pharmacy at a clinic in rural Honduras, which was a life changing experience and an incredible opportunity to practice pharmacy in a non-traditional setting.
What challenges have you faced along the way?
I think a big challenge I have faced was that I had had absolutely no pharmacy experience when I stated pharmacy school. I felt like I was behind many of my classmates who had had quite a bit of experience in pharmacy. I think the learning curve was a bit steeper for me when I started school but after my summer rotations I felt much more prepared with the bit of experience I was able to pick up. I have also had a very busy schedule and it has been difficult managing school, extracurricular activities and a job while still having time to enjoy myself.
What honors and awards have you received? Are there other accomplishments you would like to share?
I was selected for membership in both Phi Lambda Sigma, the Pharmacy Leadership Society and the University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy chapter of Rho Chi. I was also chosen to serve as a Student Ambassador for the UW SOP. In addition I was appointed the Chief justice of the Associated Students of the University of Wyoming (student government) Judicial Council and have received recognition for being chosen as a UW Gold Finalist last homecoming.
What do you like about life in Laramie and the Rocky Mountain area?
I love the environment of living in a college town. Laramie is a small town that is close enough to bigger cities that there is always something to do. There are lots of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors in areas around Laramie.
What are your goals for the future following graduation?
After graduation, I hope to complete a residency to specialize in pediatric pharmacy and work as a clinical pharmacist in a hospital environment.