Meet the Ambassador – Erin Mays


Erin Mays, Class of 2020, Chapel Hill Campus
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Prior Education: Bachelor’s degree – Biology, Centre College

If you could have any superhero power, what would it be and why?
The ability to make delicious, well-balanced full meals just with the snap of a finger. I love meal planning, coming up with recipes, and even grocery shopping. But, when it comes time to the actual cooking part, I don’t want any part of a process that takes longer than 15 minutes. My Pinterest is full of recipes I want to try, but I hate preparing meals! Actually putting some of those to use would be great!

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would love to go to South Africa. I have heard great things about the landscape, the city of Cape Town, the food, and the culture. I have traveled all over Europe but I think South Africa would be unlike anywhere I have been before!

What three words best describe you?
Determined, personable, confident

When you were younger – what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a teacher or an author. Who knows- perhaps one or both of those may still come true one day!

What experience/class/activity from undergrad best prepared you for pharmacy school?
On a whim during my sophomore year of undergrad, I applied to be a pharmacy technician at CVS. I had no experience and was relatively young to work in a pharmacy. A pharmacist happened to see my application and took a chance on me! It was terrifying to start a job where I had no experience, but by not being afraid to constantly ask questions and working hard, I became very confident as a pharmacy technician and knew pharmacy was the career for me.

What advice would you give a prospective students interested in pharmacy?
Don’t be afraid to get some experience in the field! This will not only benefit you by giving you a leg up in your first year of pharmacy school (I still remember certain things about medications by working in CVS), but also will confirm to you that pharmacy is something you want to do. Whether it is working as a technician or shadowing a pharmacist, the more experience the better. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Why did you choose the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
This question is very important to me, because I come from a state that also has its own high-ranked state university pharmacy program. However, after interviewing at each school, there was no doubt in my mind that UNC was the best place for me. First, UNC is clearly leading the way in pharmacy education, as shown by its recent #1 ranking. Its new curriculum emphasizes innovative classroom learning techniques, like the flipped classroom method. My favorite part of the curriculum so far is that every class includes at least one case- where we apply what we have just learned to a real life patient scenario. This not only shows us how the information we have learned can apply to our careers in real life, but also helps us learn the material better by applying it to real life scenarios early on. Other schools, like the one from my home state, are making an effort to copy this curriculum, so clearly it is working to produce the best pharmacists. Also, UNC does not wait until the fourth year to get students out working in real rotations. The curriculum arranges rotations for students beginning at the end of our first year, so we will be even more prepared when we graduate. Finally, UNC as a whole has been incredible so far. You can just feel the excitement for learning all over campus- I’m serious. Plus, the school works hard to make the in-state tuition process easy for out-of-state students like me!

What’s been one of your favorite experiences at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy so far?
One of my favorite experiences so far has been joining Phi Delta Chi, one of the professional pharmacy fraternities on campus. Before attending ESOP, I assumed professional fraternities were just like clubs, but it is much more than that. It is a true brotherhood, and allows for numerous networking opportunities. It is a great way to develop close relationships with students in other classes. The brothers of Phi Delta Chi also hold themselves to a level of excellence here at ESOP and also nationally. Being surrounded by a network of such successful people only inspires me to work even harder.

What makes for a successful pharmacy student at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
Using your classmates! What is really nice about PY1 year is that your entire class takes all the same classes, and everyone has the same schedule. During undergrad, I never studied with other people, as most of my friends were in other majors. However, group studying is truly one of the most useful study techniques, and it works! I feel like I know the material so much more and will remember it for longer after talking it through with a study group before tests.

Have more questions for Erin? Feel free to send her an email:

Candidates’ Day Advice – Starr Barrier

With interview season underway, current students reflect back on their experiences at our interview day (Candidates’ Day).

Besides UNC, how many other pharmacy school interviews did you attend?

How did you prepare for Candidates’ Day (or pharmacy interviews in general)?
Because both the schools I interviewed at planned on doing MMI, all I did to prepare was think about why I wanted to become a pharmacist and what unique qualities each school had to offer me and why I would chose to attend that school.

What did you like about Candidates’ Day?
I especially liked the MMI. I liked how organized it was here and enjoyed it a lot more than I would a typical 30 minute one on one interview. You don’t have enough time to be nervous and you get multiple chances to make a good first impression. I liked how the day was split into different sections, and the group discussion time was a good way for us to interact with other candidates and relax a bit. The information panel was particularly helpful.

How was Candidates’ Day different from other pharmacy school interviews you attended?
The information panel had current students along with professors and I thought this was very helpful. Other schools had student panels but no professors were present. I think this also showed how close the student body is with the faculty and this was eye opening for me and one of the reasons why I chose UNC because it shows the faculty really want you to succeed.

What part of Candidates’ Day was most surprising/unexpected to you?
The group discussion was surprising and fun. I liked getting to interact with other candidates that I’m now in school and getting to interact with one of the professors was interesting.

If you could go back and relive Candidates’ Day, what would you do differently (if anything)?
I would have asked the faculty more questions. Asking questions in general is important, but you especially want to talk to faculty to see if this school is the right fit for you.

What advice would you give prospective students preparing for interviews/Candidates Day?
I would think about why you want to become a pharmacist and if there is a particular field you’re interested in. If you’re not that’s fine, but if you’re passionate about something you definitely want to talk about that at some point. I would ask a bunch of questions because you want to make sure that you chose a school that’s going to be a good fit for you. Don’t forget to relax and be yourself! This is your chance to sell yourself and they want to see who you are.

Meet the Ambassador – Taylor Dennison


Taylor Dennison, Class of 2019, Chapel Hill Campus
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Prior Education: No bachelor’s degree – 3 years, Clemson University

If you could have any superhero power, what would it be and why?
If I could have any superhero power I would want to be able to fly- cliche but so true. I would love to be able to get places faster and see things from a bird’s eye view!

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would love to go to Bali or to the Great Barrier Reef.

How did you get interested in pharmacy?
I was talking with my Mom’s co-worker who exposed me to the world of clinical hospital pharmacy. Prior to that I had no idea that pharmacists were even in hospitals let alone rounding with other health care professionals and having a direct impact on patients. I loved that pharmacists could use their knowledge to optimize medications while working with patients directly, to me that was the best of both worlds and initially got me interested in pharmacy.

What would you change about your undergraduate studies and/or preparing for pharmacy school?
Although probably unexpected if I could change my undergraduate studies in order to better prepare for pharmacy school I would take more Spanish classes. I have been fortunate and have had the opportunity to work with many Hispanic populations through several organizations I am a part of at school. If I had a better understanding of the Spanish language I would be able to better understand and serve the patients I work with.

Why did you choose the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
I chose the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy because of the incredible administrators, faculty, professors, and other students who are here. Every day I am encouraged by the people I am surrounded by who challenge me and push me to be my best. I was also drawn to ESOP becuase of the changing curriculum which allowed me to go on rotations earlier, more often, and for longer than any other program I had looked at. Finally, the emphasis on international opportunities was something that drew me to ESOP. I have a passion for travel and attending a school that also valued multicultural experiences was important to me.

What area of pharmacy is most interesting to you?
Clinical pharmacy in a hospital setting is what interests me most right now. I am especially interested in oncology pharmacy and the role that pharmacists can have managing the adverse effects of many cancer drugs. However, since I am only just starting my second year I am keeping my mind open to all the diverse options the career of pharmacy has to offer.

Have more questions for Taylor? Feel free to send her an email:

Candidates’ Day Advice – Ashlyn Norris

With interview season underway, current students reflect back on their experiences at our interview day (Candidates’ Day).

Besides UNC, how many other pharmacy school interviews did you attend?

What did you like about Candidates’ Day?
My favorite part about Candidates’ Day was that we got to meet so many different people and really get a chance to know the school. Throughout the MMI you got to meet a variety of professors, faculty members and administrators and in the different sessions throughout the day you were able to interact with even more professors and see what a typical class was like. I really feel that not only did the school get to know me better, but that I also got to know the school and the people here.

What part of Candidates’ Day was most surprising/unexpected to you?
I was most surprised about how much I enjoyed the MMI. I was able to be myself and have meaningful conversations with the faculty members conducting the interviews. Instead of talking about myself for 30 mins to two people, which was awkward at times, I was able to talk to a variety of people and answer questions that made me think and demonstrate my character.

What advice would you give prospective students preparing for interviews/Candidates Day?
My advice would be to stay relaxed and just be yourself. All of the people are really nice and want to see you succeed. The interview questions are not stressful and are meant to get to know you better, so just be honest and true to yourself.

Student Organization Highlight: SHAC

We have 16 student organizations. Student organizations allow students to perform community service and outreach, network and focus on career and professional development, and meet other pharmacy students and have fun.

The Student Health Action Coalition (SHAC) is a clinic run by pharmacy, medical, social work, public health, physical therapy, nursing, and dentistry students (under the supervision of practicing pharmacists and doctors) for under served and low income individuals. The students from the different health professions work together to diagnose, treat, and support the patients. SHAC is a great opportunity for pharmacy students to apply what they’re learning in the classroom to direct patient care.

The pharmacy students have a SHAC blog and they post about working in the clinic. Meet the SHAC interns here and read more about their experiences here.