The Calm Before the Storm


Tomorrow is our first Candidates’ Day of the year. The folders are stuffed, the cowbells are ready to ring, and it’s going to be a beautiful day in NC! We’re excited to welcome our first group of students for interviews. Candidates’ Days are always great events at the School. Over 65 faculty, students, and staff are involved with the actual day’s activities. Want to learn more about Candidates’ Day? There are a number of posts here.

I want to wish everyone interviewing tomorrow good luck! We’re looking forward to meeting you.

Meet the Ambassador – Ryan Rodriguez


Ryan Rodriguez, Class of 2020, Asheville Campus
Hometown: San Antonio, TX
Prior Education: Bachelor’s degree – Biology, Our Lady of the Lake University

If you could have any superhero power, what would it be and why?
The power of teleportation. I would love to be able to visit any place in the world regardless of distance. Traveling has always been a top item of my list of things to do.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
My top choice would be to Africa to go on a safari and explore different cultures.

What three words best describe you?
Caring, friendly, and eclectic

When you were younger – what did you want to be when you grew up?

How did you get interested in pharmacy?
I got interested in pharmacy after hearing stories from a independent community pharmacist. He told us of a time that a patient of his was a gorilla at the local zoo. He was so enthused about pharmacy and I felt like some of that energy influenced me to strongly consider the pharmacy career.

What would you change about your undergraduate studies and/or preparing for pharmacy school?
I did not matriculate directly into the program because I was a bit unsure about what I wanted to do after graduating. I wish I could have found that motivation to attend pharmacy school earlier. However, those few years between graduating and starting school, I went through a time of self-discovery. I found that figuring out who I was and who I want to be has really confirmed the path that I have chosen to go down.

What experience/class/activity from undergrad best prepared you for pharmacy school?
Organic chemistry and physiology classes best prepared me for pharmacy school. I constantly reference material that I had went over in those classes.

What advice would you give a prospective students interested in pharmacy?
Be sure you know you want to go into pharmacy. The program is rigorous, but can be done. If you do decide to pursue pharmacy, then time management skills are crucial. Having excellent time management skills is a life long asset.

What advice would you give a prospective student trying to decide between pharmacy and another health profession?
This happened to me. I was debating about whether I wanted to go to pharmacy or medical school. It all comes down to what you want to do in your career. For me, I wanted to help as many people as possible and make a difference in the world. This pointed me to pharmacy because of the lack of red tape that is needed to help a person.

Why did you choose the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
I chose to attend this school because of the globally recognized program. I knew I was going to receive a top rate education.

What’s been one of your favorite experiences at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy so far?
The Asheville campus itself. The people here are amazing and always willing to help you.

What has been the most challenging part of pharmacy school?
Staying on top of all the material. It is really easy to fall behind. I have had to work on my time management skills to become successful here.

What makes for a successful pharmacy student at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
I firmly believe that anyone can be successful in this program. Some essential traits would be to never give up and to always keep trying.

Have more questions for Ryan? Feel free to send him an email:

Visit the School this fall

We have several events coming up at the School this semester – at both our Asheville and Chapel Hill campuses! Our events are a great opportunity for you to learn more about pharmacy as a career, about our program and students, and about the admissions process. You will be able to interact with staff and current students and take a tour of the School. We hope you will be able to join us!

Sign up for a Pharmacy Friday or Open House here.

Class of 2020

Last night we welcomed the Class of 2020 to the School with a Cookout on the School’s front lawn. Students got to mingle and eat with their classmates, faculty, staff, and current student Peer Mentors. Beautiful weather, delicious BBQ, and a live band was a great way to kick off the Fall 2016 semester. Orientation continues today, and the Class of 2020 starts classes on Wednesday.

Class of 2020 cookout

Want to know more about the Class of 2020? Check out their stats below:

Class of 2020 141 total students
Chapel Hill campus 120
Asheville campus 21
Average PCAT Composite Percentile 88%
Average GPA (Cumulative) 3.5
NC Residents 51%
Non-Residents 49%
Female 70%
Male 30%
Average Age 22
Age Range 18-51
Number of States Represented 23
Countries 2
Number of NC Counties                     29
    Asian Pacific Islander   27%
    African American   8%
    Native American  0%
    Two or more races 4%
Hispanic* 4%
  *Reported as ethnicity  
Underrepresented minority** 12%
**Includes African American, Native American, and Hispanic  


Best things about Asheville

We’ve talked about our Asheville campus before here. Our students love studying on the Asheville campus because of the smaller class size (25-30 students as opposed to 120-130 in Chapel Hill), access to innovative pharmacy and health care practice through initiatives like the Asheville Project, and opportunities to study Rural Health. Students love living in Asheville because of the great food, drink, music, and culture scene in downtown Asheville, and the close proximity to the beautiful Smoky Mountains. Learn more about what makes Asheville an awesome place to live here.

PCAT prep course

Are you preparing to take the PCAT this summer or fall? One of our student organizations, Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA), will be offering a PCAT prep course at the Chapel Hill and Asheville campuses this summer.

From SNPhA:
“We will provide detailed instruction in Biology, Chemistry, Math, and English. We will also be covering test-taking strategies, administering pre- and post-exams, and hosting a mock MMI session to simulate the pharmacy school interview process.”

For more information or to register, please visit their website:

Good food in Asheville

Do you love to eat? Hopefully, yes! There are so many great restaurants in Asheville, NC. Lucky for our students on the Asheville campus, they get to enjoy all that the bohemian downtown of Asheville has to offer – including great food, a huge craft beer scene, and close access to hiking and camping in the mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway. We ran across this article on the Foodie Crush Blog, and wanted to share it with you. If you haven’t visited Asheville yet, and you love food, now might be a great time to plan a visit. Check out our upcoming spring events, and stop by our Asheville campus for a visit. Make sure to visit Biltmore while you’re there!

Asheville Student Perspective: Interprofessional Team Night at ABCCM

A blog post from Stephen Canaday, Class of 2017.

As student pharmacists, we are completely aware that our profession’s job is to serve as the “Medication Experts” on the healthcare team. However, we are only one part of the US healthcare team that ensures quality and safety of the healthcare convey to our patients.  In the United States, pharmacy curriculums at schools of pharmacy tend to focus our training only within our profession, and not from the interprofessional approach.  In 2009, six national associations of school of health care professionals (medicine, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, nursing, dentistry, and public health) formed the Interprofessional Education Collaborative Expert Panel to promote the importance of interprofessional education approach.


As a student pharmacist on the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy – Asheville Campus, I have the fortunate to be involved in an interprofessional education program called Interprofessional Team Night.  Interprofessional Team Night is collaboration between Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry (ABCCM), AB Technical Community College Nursing Program, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, and UNC School of Medicine.  Interprofessional Team Night is a once a month service-learning and community engagement experience for nursing, pharmacy, and medical students in Asheville, NC.  During Team Night, each professional student comes together to form an interprofessional team that provides free medical care to our community at a local medical clinic.


As a participate of Interprofessional Team Night, I learned the importance of our profession, which is interwoven with other healthcare profession to provide the best quality of care for our patients.  During Team Nights, each professional student has specific jobs and responsibilities as a member of the team.  Nonetheless, the most critical key point that I have learned is the importance of effective communication, and developing relationships with other healthcare professionals to develop a positive medical learning environment, where the patient truly becomes our top priority.

Connect with us in October

We’ve got a lot of recruitment events coming up this month, and we hope to see you at some of them!

We’re hosting an Open House in Asheville on Monday, October 12 at 5:30pm. The following day, we’re hosting an Open House in Chapel Hill on Tuesday, October 13 at 5:30pm. You’ll learn about the admissions process, hear from a faculty member about the pharmacy profession, and meet with current students who will discuss our PharmD program. It’s a great opportunity to visit the school and learn more about pharmacy!

We will also be participating in the AACP Virtual Fair and Chat. It’s free for you to join and chat with us. We’ll have admissions folks and current students there to answer your questions from 10am-4pm  EST both October 21 and 22. Log on and say hi!

If you can’t make an Open House, we also offer Pharmacy Fridays, which are shorter sessions with an admissions representative and current students. Learn more about admissions, our program, and take a tour of the school. We have Pharmacy Fridays coming up in October and November in Asheville and Chapel Hill.

Sign up for any of our events here.

Asheville Student Perspective: Beyond Clinic Walls – Asheville

A blog post from Stephen Canady, Class of 2017.

On the Asheville Campus, interprofessional learning is a big component of our extracurricular activities. We volunteer at a local medical clinic, at an Interprofessional Team Medical Clinic Night, and Beyond Clinic Walls-Asheville (BCW-Asheville).  BCW-Asheville is a new program on the Asheville Campus this school year. BCW-Asheville is a service learning and community-service engagement experienced formed on the foundational model of UNC’s Beyond Clinic Wall program. BCW-Asheville aims to serve MAHEC patients who have complex medical and/or social needs. BCW-Asheville helps their client to understand their often complicated health needs and to maintain contact with their health care providers.  Student volunteers from UNC School of Medicine Asheville, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy – Asheville Campus, Western Carolina University School of Nursing, and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Nursing program collaborate in interdisciplinary teams that partner with their clients for an academic year.

As a student leader of BCW-Asheville, I hope that our student volunteers learn to develop a holistic view of their client and help identify and correct any healthcare barrier(s) for their client.  I also hope students assist their client with accessing other community resources within the Asheville region. Every healthcare profession has a distinct role on the healthcare team. As a student pharmacist, volunteering in diverse interprofessional learning environments, I have learned some invaluable lessons that only come from working on an interprofessional healthcare team and experienced the tremendous benefit of pooled knowledge from diverse academic perspectives. Nonetheless, the most critical key point that I have learned is the importance of effective communication and developing relationships with other healthcare professionals to develop a positive medical learning environment where the patient truly becomes our top priority.