Meet the Ambassador – Carolyn Rath

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Carolyn Rath, Class of 2020, Chapel Hill Campus
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Prior Education: Bachelor’s degree – Biology, Global Health , Duke University


What three words best describe you?
Enthusiastic, hard-working, and very smiley!

When you were younger – what did you want to be when you grew up?
I used to be very focused on starting my own bed-and-breakfast. I still haven’t ruled it out for a post-pharmacy career retirement project 🙂


What would you change about your undergraduate studies and/or preparing for pharmacy school?
During my time in college, I focused heavily on my coursework and earning good grades. While this diligence helped me to be successful in the classroom, I think that I missed out on opportunities to develop leadership skills, serve my community, and pursue relationships with potential mentors. If I could go back now, I would encourage my undergraduate self to close my textbooks, leave my dorm room, and head out into the world to engage more deeply with activities and people that could help me to grow as a person.

What experience/class/activity from undergrad best prepared you for pharmacy school?
I volunteered in the playroom at the Duke University Children’s Hospital throughout my time in college. While I was not gaining direct pharmacy knowledge, the experiences I had and the people I met reaffirmed my passion for health care and decision to pursue the pharmacy profession. It was a great privilege to have the chance to positively impact pediatric patients and their families – I look forward to striving for this positive impact every day as a pharmacist!

What advice would you give a prospective student trying to decide between pharmacy and another health profession?
What I wish that someone would have told me when I was indecisive about my future path was that it’s okay not to know exactly what you want to do right at this very moment. Choosing between pharmacy and other health professions is a big decision – but don’t let the process consume you! Invest time to explore your options now so that later, you will know you made the right choice for you. Personally, I was hesitant to reach out to health professionals about shadowing opportunities. However, if I hadn’t shadowed several pharmacists at Duke University Hospital and learned about the myriad opportunities in the field, I might not have realized that the pharmacy path was perfect for me!


Why did you choose the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
Why did you choose the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
When I was choosing between pharmacy programs, I organized my thoughts with a pros and cons list – color-coded and categorized, of course! I compared different schools based on curricula, student involvement, research opportunities, and proximity to strong health care systems. Without fail, the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy ranked at the top of every category! Not only could I attend a school with a unique, innovative, and challenging curriculum, but I could also apply my classroom knowledge to early immersion experiences in the pharmacy field. In addition, I could join a friendly, driven student body that was committed to serving patients in the Carolina community and beyond. I smile now when I think of the effort I put into that color-coded list – the best color for me was clearly Carolina blue!

What area of pharmacy is most interesting to you?
Currently, I am most interested in pediatric or neonatal pharmacy. Through my shadowing experiences, I have had the opportunity to learn about how pharmacists can positively impact pediatric patients and their families as part of the patient care team. To many people, the pediatric or neonatal units at a hospital can be scary places – but to me, these units are filled with hope for helping the smallest patients take big steps towards health and well-being.


Have more questions for Carolyn? Feel free to send her an email: cgr8@email.unc.edu

Meet the Ambassador – Erin Mays

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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: erinmays@email.unc.edu

Meet the Ambassador – Amanda Searls

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Amanda Searls, Class of 2020, Chapel Hill Campus
Hometown: Green Brook, NJ
Prior Education: Bachelor’s degree – Pharmaceutical Sciences , University of Michigan


If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
If I could go anywhere in the world I would go to Japan. My grandmother is from Japan and I would love to go and meet some of my relatives!

When you were younger – what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was younger I wanted to be a chef! I still enjoy cooking and trying out new recipes. I like to use cooking as a stress reliever when I need a study break:)


How did you get interested in pharmacy?
I became interested in pharmacy after my grandfather was diagnosed with dementia. He also battles several other illnesses and balancing his medications was a challenge at first. I soon realized how important medication management is to the treatment process and became fascinated by the field of pharmacy. I began shadowing and talking with pharmacists, and ultimately decided that pharmacy was the right fit for me!

What experience/class/activity from undergrad best prepared you for pharmacy school?
I think the prerequisite science coursework helped prepare me for pharmacy school. These classes forced me to develop good study habits that are crucial for pharmacy school. Student organization leadership positions and research also prepared me well. Both of these experiences improved my communication and management skills. At research, I had lab meetings twice a month where I had to present my data. This gave me the confidence to converse with higher level students and faculty which has transferred to pharmacy school. This also taught me to time manage and balance activities outside of my school work.

What advice would you give a prospective students interested in pharmacy?
I would advise students to talk to as many student pharmacists and pharmacists as they can before applying. I would strongly advise looking for shadowing opportunities by reaching out to those at a local pharmacy school or pharmacy. I was not a pharm tech during undergrad, but I shadowed and talked with pharmacists to learn as much as I could about the opportunities within the field. I would also advise students to look up the prerequisite courses required by different pharmacy schools and make a list of them. Many schools have slightly different requirements and it can get confusing if you are applying to many schools!


Why did you choose the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
One major aspect that impressed me was the new curriculum. The PharmD curriculum at UNC is distinct from any other college of pharmacy. The flipped classroom approach is unique in that it facilitates active learning and problem solving. This method of teaching stimulates higher-level thinking and discussion. I also loved the opportunity for early immersion experiences after the first year. This curriculum provides up to seventeen months of patient care experience, which was more than any other program I was considering. The focus on innovation and the encouragement to answer questions without answers are unique aspects to this PharmD program. It is an indication of a program that is trying to make a difference in the world.

What’s been one of your favorite experiences at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy so far?
One of my favorite experiences at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy so far has been my participation in the Recruitment Ambassadors Program. Being able to give back to the school and inspire interest in the profession of pharmacy is very personally and professionally rewarding to me. Also, the group of ambassadors and faculty make this organization fun!

What has been the most challenging part of pharmacy school?
The most challenging part of pharmacy school has been balancing time. School work and student organizations are vitally important and should come first. However, it is important to leave some time for activities outside of school that are important to you.


Have more questions for Amanda? Feel free to send her an email: amanda_searls@unc.edu

My Immersion Experience – Ryan Ragan

Students have their first immersion (pharmacy rotation) the summer after their PY1 year. They are placed in either a hospital (health system) or community pharmacy. For more information about our curriculum, click here.


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Name: Ryan Ragan
Year: PY2 (Class of 2019)
Rotation: Community

Where was your immersion located?

Kroger Pharmacy, Durham (home store) and Raleigh.

How did you prepare for your immersion experience?

I prepared for my immersion experience by clearing my mind of expectations and preparing myself to say yes to anything they asked me to explore in the first few weeks. After that, my preceptor allowed me to tailor my experience to participate in unique activities or research interesting topics with more input.

What was a typical day like?

A typical day started at 8am, with the opening of the pharmacy. I would research unique drug information questions the pharmacists would encounter throughout the prescription verification process for about an hour before jumping into the workflow to help clear the queues and free up the technicians to complete other tasks or clean the pharmacy. When the daily order came around 9:30am, I would check in all the controlled substances for the pharmacist to sign off on. After lunch time, I would research more drug information questions that popped up while I was gone and keep working in the queues as both a technician filling prescriptions and as a pharmacist performing first checks on the validity and accuracy of prescriptions. Throughout the day, I would answer customer questions about prescriptions that I felt capable of answering or help patients make decisions abuot over-the-counter medications. I was also responsible for giving vaccinations to all patients that were interested in receiving one while I was there, so that added some excitement to the day.

What did you like about your rotation?

I liked the variety of the experiences I had. The team of preceptors at Kroger did a great job of breaking the static flow of community pharmacy work by realizing that staffing as a technician for 40 hours a day for 2 months would get boring quite quickly. As a result, a concerted effort was made to remove me from the pharmacy to participate in unique projects. I conducted employee health screenings many days, presented weekly news stories to various teams of pharmacy staff, and even made a trip to a retirement community to pre-screen patients for flu-shot eligibility. In an average week, I was at my home store about half the time only.

What was the most challenging part of your rotation?

The most challenging part of my rotation was recalling prescription drug information when talking with patients on an impromptu basis.

Meet the Ambassador – Paige Cawley

Paige Cawley, Class of 2020, Chapel Hill Campus
Hometown: Holly Springs, NC
Prior Education: No bachelor’s degree – 3 years, UNC-Chapel Hill


If you could have any superhero power, what would it be and why?
Teleportation. I would love to be able to travel anywhere I want, but I hate flying and long road trips. I also think it would be cool to just snap my fingers and be at my grandma’s house for dinner every night.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Bora Bora. My dream is to stay in one of those huts that are above the water and the floors have glass that you can look through and see the underwater life.

What three words best describe you?
Sassy, driven, chocolate-lover

When you were younger – what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a professional basketball player. I realized there was no chance of that happening when I discovered I am short and not that great at basketball.


How did you get interested in pharmacy?
I went to a medical camp during high school. When I went to the camp I was 99.99% sure I wanted to be a surgeon, but that all changed when I watched a surgery. After that, I got to choose a place in a hospital to shadow for a day. I chose the pharmacy solely because I knew it would not make me throw up. However, much to my surprise, I fell in love with the field. I watched pharmacists counsel patients, create IV medications, advise doctors on specific medications, and research patient profiles and prescriptions. There was so much more to field than I thought.

What experience/class/activity from undergrad best prepared you for pharmacy school?
One of the best classes I took in undergrad was a communication in healthcare class. I learned about how to work as a part of a team to provide well-rounded and high-quality care for patients. I also took a health policy and politics class that opened my eyes to the ways in which the health care system is changing and how care is shifting to be more patient-centered. The changes in health care will change the work that pharmacists do.

What advice would you give a prospective students interested in pharmacy?
Try to do research or work or in a pharmacy to make sure it is something you really want to do. It will give you good insight into what pharmacists really do. Also, take classes about health policy or working in healthcare. They allow you to learn more about the healthcare field as well.


Why did you choose the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
UNC is home to me and I could not imagine leaving Chapel Hill. When I applied to pharmacy school during my junior year, I only applied to UNC because I knew I could not leave. Not only is it my home, but UNC ESOP is also a school with a great reputation, new and improved curriculum, extensive connections, and the opportunity for early immersion experiences.

What area of pharmacy is most interesting to you?
Geriatric pharmacy is very interesting to me because it is growing in necessity due to the increasing baby boomer population. There are very few programs that specialize in geriatrics even though it is a very necessary specialty field.


Have more questions for Paige? Feel free to send her an email: pcawley@email.unc.edu

Flashbacks and Forward Thinking: My Advice for Prospective Students

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By Carolyn Rath, Class of 2020

In October of this year, I had the privilege to return to my alma mater, Duke University, for a recruitment event for the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy (ESOP). The event was called Graduate and Professional School Day, and was catered towards undergraduate students interested in pursuing business, law, and – my personal favorite – health professional programs. When I arrived at the event, I joined Aaron Todd, the Assistant Director of Student Affairs at ESOP (check out his Twitter if you haven’t already – @UNCpharmAaron) at the UNC table. Throughout the evening, Mr. Todd and I had the chance to talk to students about our program and the myriad opportunities available in the field of pharmacy today. And then, after many pleasant conversations with interested students, a vivid memory suddenly came to my mind.

*Flashback*

It’s late October of 2015. I am in the same room where the professional school fair is held, but it looks different. Instead of the rows of representatives brandishing brochures, there are tables scattered throughout the room where students are studying, chatting, or eating a quick lunch between classes. I am simultaneously trying to scroll through my emails, update my weekly calendar, and enjoy my plate of pasta before rushing off to Physics lab.  And then, just when I am about to close my laptop, one last email comes through with the subject line “UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy – Invitation to Interview.” In that moment, all thoughts (read: fears) of Physics lab disappear as I literally jump for joy, paying no attention to the stares from my peers. This is really happening!

*Flash-forward*

As I stood at the UNC ESOP table, reminiscing on that happy day, I started to think about my pharmacy school application process. While it all worked out in the end (thankfully), there are several things that I would do differently if I could go back now. If you are currently applying to pharmacy school, planning to apply in the future, or just enjoying my blog post here (which I completely understand), this list of tips is for you:

  1. Ask for advice. The process of applying to pharmacy school can be stressful! While you might be navigating territory that is unfamiliar to you, remember that many before you have forged a path to success. When you have questions or feel overwhelmed, seek help from advisors, admissions officers, and current PharmD candidates. Asking your questions now can save you from uncertainty or anxiety down the road.
  2. Show gratitude. Take a minute to think about all of those who have supported you on your pre-pharmacy journey thus far. Have you let them know how much their time and advice has meant to you? Have you kept them informed about your application and interview progress? A quick thank-you note or email update can mean a lot to your biggest fans.
  3. Celebrate the little moments. If you’re applying to schools right now, I know what you’re thinking – can’t I just get accepted to pharmacy school already?! During my application process, I was so focused on checking off boxes on my to-do list that I missed chances to celebrate the small things, like presenting myself well in an interview, receiving my first acceptance, or looking fabulously professional in my interview suit 🙂 Taking time to appreciate the small victories will help you to enjoy the process more!
  4. Be kind to yourself. It’s easy to become so wrapped up in the application process that you lose track of life a little bit. If you’re in your last year of college, don’t miss out on those invaluable, top-of-the-bucket-list experiences. If you’re working, continue to engage with your work and strive to make an impact. Spend time with your family and friends, and pursue activities that bring you joy. It might seem like your application process is the only thing that matters – but remember that your health, happiness, and relationships with others should be top priorities too.
  5. Think beyond the acceptance letter. When I received my first acceptance to pharmacy school, one of my best friends said: “You’re going to be a pharmacist!” Her simple statement reminded me that pharmacy school was not my end goal, but rather the beginning of my journey towards serving patients in the future.

I was so grateful for the chance to return to Duke as a representative of UNC ESOP. Not only did I have the opportunity to share the vision of ESOP with prospective students, but I also had time to reflect on the steps I have taken to get where I am now. To those of you who are applying to pharmacy school, I wish you the best of luck for the beginning of this promising journey, and I hope you enjoy each step along the way. And while I don’t yet have the power to flash forward to the future (still working on that), I have a good feeling about the next class of student pharmacists that will join us at UNC in 2017.

Meet the Ambassador – Sue Liu

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Sue Liu, Class of 2020, Chapel Hill Campus
Hometown: Beijing, China
Prior Education: Bachelor’s degree – Biology, DePauw University


If you could have any superhero power, what would it be and why?
I’d love to be able to teleport, so I can just show up anywhere anytime time I like, without having to worry about traffic or being late or anything like that.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Egypt! To see the mystical pyramids

When you were younger – what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a news reporter.


What would you change about your undergraduate studies and/or preparing for pharmacy school?
I would have liked to do more pharmacy involved activities such as working as a technician, shadowing a pharmacist for a more extensive period of time, etc. I would also maybe want to change my major from Biology to Biochemistry. I was only a minor in Biochemistry, with one course away from being a major. Biochemistry coursework is more related to pharmacy related sciences than Biology alone.

What advice would you give a prospective student trying to decide between pharmacy and another health profession?
Pharmacy has many unique aspects. It is nothing like nursing, medical school, or dental school. The best advice would be to learn about those different professions from talking to someone in those professions, getting to know their career paths, and seeing if you could see yourself in those paths. And take your time to make your decision.


What has been the most challenging part of pharmacy school?
Time management. There are so many student organizations, fraternities, and community outreach activities going on all the time at the pharmacy school, both on campus and off campus, and many of them sound very appealing especially as a first year because I’m still very open to all aspects of pharmacy. I found balancing my extracurricular activities and school work a little bit challenging, especially keeping track of all the event dates, requirements and school work due dates. Learning how to best balance my time and stay organized is important in doing well in my PY1 year.

What makes for a successful pharmacy student at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
Having a strong sense of responsibility and commitment, both to extracurricular activities and academic school work. For school work, always turn things in on time and uphold the honor code. For extracurricular activities, show up and actively participate in them.
Lastly, from the perspective of being a good pharmacist in the future, having a mind of life-long learning is also important. Being open-minded towards new ideas, and always ready to learn is important!


Have more questions for Sue? Feel free to send her an email: lys0405@email.unc.edu

Meet the Ambassador – Karin Abernathy

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Karin Abernathy, Class of 2020, Chapel Hill Campus
Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina
Prior Education: No bachelor’s degree – 3 years, UNC-Chapel Hill


If you could have any superhero power, what would it be and why?
I’m not really sure if it’s a superpower, but if I could have a photographic memory that would be SUPER helpful in pharmacy school. Just to be able to look at something once and remember it would drastically cut down studying time.

 

When you were younger – what did you want to be when you grew up?
My family moved a lot when I was younger, so I thought I wanted to be a real estate agent. I thought it was the coolest thing, to get to go in and look at all of the brand new houses and show them to families.


How did you get interested in pharmacy?
My father has a chronic health condition, and as a child I spent a lot of time in an independent drug store our family-friend owned. That was my first exposure to the field, and I truly just enjoyed all of the interactions I was able to witness between the pharmacist and my dad and one day decided pharmacy was something I’d like to pursue.

What experience/class/activity from undergrad best prepared you for pharmacy school?
I think having the experience of working in a community pharmacy setting honestly prepared me the most for pharmacy school. While it definitely isn’t a requirement, I found it useful to come into school having a lot of background knowledge about what many drugs are used to treat, and I had also worked previously in a compounding lab. Working in the field and knowing that I enjoyed it allowed me to be 100% sure that this was the profession I wanted to pursue before I committed so much of my time to studying it.

What advice would you give a prospective students interested in pharmacy?
I would definitely try to get to know some students that are already in pharmacy school if at all possible. I was lucky to have a friend who was a current student and was able to talk me through the application and interview process and upon acceptance, help me with the transition from undergrad to professional school. It was really nice to have someone always there to answer all of my questions, so I highly recommend reaching out to anyone you can and to start getting to know people early!


Why did you choose the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
One of the initial attractions of UNC-ESOP was the undying sense of community between the students and faculty on campus. From stepping inside Kerr Hall on my Candidate’s Day and instantly being greeted by multiple students and faculty, to always being able to approach the professors before or after class, I’ve always felt both welcomed, included, and inspired by both my peers and the staff. However, I think the aspect of UNC-ESOP that most attracted me to the program was ultimately the innovation of the school and where the program has gone and where it is going; how not just the curriculum, but the faculty and students are all open and willing to change as the field of pharmacy and healthcare in general are changing. While learning the foundational courses is important to give us as student pharmacists a background knowledge of many subjects, being able to participate in early immersion experiences in our first and second years in both the community and hospital setting is a unique aspect of our program that is not offered at many other schools, and this accelerated type of learning and experience is a unique opportunity that really excited me about attending UNC-ESOP.

What has been the most challenging part of pharmacy school?
I think the most challenging part of pharmacy school for me is just the volume of the coursework, organizations, work, meetings, etc. and just the transition to juggling all of it. I don’t necessarily think the content of the material is that difficult (yet – I am just a PY1), but in undergrad my job was just to go to school and make good grades. Now that I’m super interested in everything I’m learning, I’ve fallen victim to becoming hyperinvolved in everything, and it’s been really hard to balance all of that while trying to maintain a healthy sleep schedule, exercise routine, and social activities – I promise I’m on my way to learning though!


Have more questions for Karin? Feel free to send her an email: karin_abernathy@unc.edu

Meet the Ambassador – Kelsey Mueller

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Kelsey Mueller, Class of 2020, Kelsey Mueller Campus
Hometown: Kernersville, NC
Prior Education: Bachelor’s degree – Biology and Minor in Chemistry, UNCW


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 time travel. I mainly want this super power to add more hours in the day. I would also enjoy time traveling to live in all the past decades and get a sense of how the world has changed over the years.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I want to travel everywhere! I have dedicated most of my time to education but once I graduate with my Pharm. D, I plan to travel as often as I can. The first place I plan to visit will be Australia. I love to go scuba diving as well as surf!

When you were younger – what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast.


 

What experience/class/activity from undergrad best prepared you for pharmacy school?
I took a gap year in between undergraduate school and pharmacy school. During this gap year, I retook the PCAT, participated in research for a Toxicology lab, and volunteered in a community pharmacy. Personally, my gap year was what prepared me best for pharmacy school. It gave me time to ensure pharmacy was the profession I wanted to pursue as well as strengthened my application. I don’t think everyone should/needs to take a gap year, but it definitely helped me and made a stronger Pharm. D candidate. I believe that volunteering in a pharmacy is what best prepared me for pharmacy school and the profession as a whole.

What advice would you give a prospective student trying to decide between pharmacy and another health profession?
I would advise anyone considering pursuing a health profession to shadow multiple health professionals before deciding their own path. I shadowed a few health professionals before deciding pharmacy was the career for I wanted to pursue. Professional school is a time investment and it would be best to gain knowledge in every possible profession of interest before making a decision.


Why did you choose the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
I chose UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy because I was impressed with the new curriculum. I will complete my first rotation this summer after competition of my first year of Pharmacy. This was a unique aspect to UNC from any other school I applied to. When I came here for Candidate’s Day, I felt at home and welcomed by the students. The faculty are all experts in their fields and so welcoming to students. There are so many organizations to become involved in at UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and to network in the field of Pharmacy. The opportunities are endless at UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

What has been the most challenging part of pharmacy school?
The most challenging part of pharmacy school has definitely been managing my time. There are so many opportunities to get involved at UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, and it really takes good time management and judgment.


Have more questions for Kelsey? Feel free to send her an email: kelseymueller2015@gmail.com

Meet the Ambassador – Amy Thurston

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Amy Thurston, Class of 2020, Chapel Hill Campus
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia
Prior Education: Bachelor’s degree – Chemistry, Virginia Commonwealth University


If you could have any superhero power, what would it be and why?
I would have to choose the ability to be in more than one place at once. Not only would it help my productivity by being able to truly multi-task, but it would also help with my FOMO (fear of missing out)! I hate having to choose between two activities and events when both are ones that I would like to go to!

What three words best describe you?
Sporty, fun-loving, perfectionist

When you were younger – what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was younger I always wanted to be an elementary school teacher! I was a very practical youngster apparently since most young kids aspire to be things like firefighters or astronauts.


How did you get interested in pharmacy?
I originally became interested, or fascinated is more like it, with medications and how they worked when I was in middle school. I thought, how can this tiny thing have an effect on my body? That was a pretty amazing concept for a 12-year-old. And instead of my curiosity decreasing, it continued to grow. After really enjoying and excelling in biology and chemistry classes in high school, I committed fully to wanting to pursue pharmacy as a career with the knowledge that I could do it.

What experience/class/activity from undergrad best prepared you for pharmacy school?
I think what best prepared me for pharmacy school wasn’t just one particular class or experience, but a combination of things. The number one thing was having a rigorous and busy schedule. I tried to be involved in multiple organizations, worked 2 part-time jobs, and took a full course load. This taught me how to manage my time well and have a good work-school-social balance. Having these time management skills mastered has proven to be invaluable in handling my pharmacy workload!

What advice would you give a prospective students interested in pharmacy?
Use all of the resources available to you! There are so many current students, admissions representatives, and practicing pharmacists that are willing to give advice if you just ask. And another piece of advice would be to not compare yourself to others; don’t be discouraged from applying to a school just because your GPA isn’t as good as someone else’s or you feel you don’t have as much pharmacy experience as someone else. Just be confident in what YOU can do and what YOU have accomplished because everyone is different and has varying strengths and weaknesses.


Why did you choose the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
When I came to interview for Candidate’s Day in November, I was completely blown away by all that the school had to offer and how smoothly the whole day went. I learned so much about the new curriculum and the various opportunities available to students at all levels. The early immersion opportunities offered after the PY1 year and throughout the PY2 and PY3 years set UNC apart from all other pharmacy programs in the country. The global aspect and alliance UNC has with programs in London and Australia was also appealing, as the prospect of doing a rotation abroad and seeing how pharmacy works in a different country would be very eye-opening. The sessions that demonstrated how a flipped classroom worked were also very informative and I liked the unique teaching methods demonstrated. In addition to that, everyone from the school that I met and interacted with was incredibly nice and so enthusiastic about the school. Plus, UNC is the best (literally) pharmacy school to attend! .

What has been the most challenging part of pharmacy school?
The most challenging part thus far in my first year has been getting used to the amount of pre-class work required for the flipped classroom design. There are always readings or assignments or lecture videos to watch and complete before class and that is very different from undergraduate courses. However the flipped classroom format is very beneficial because then in class we can spend time focusing on problem areas from the pre-class work and then applications of the knowledge.

What makes for a successful pharmacy student at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
A successful student here would be one that knows how to adapt to a given situation. Classes here are different than from undergrad so it may be necessary to employ some new study strategies, take notes differently, or put some extra time into re-watching lectures. A successful student also knows their limits and chooses to invest their time in organizations that really speak to them instead of getting involved in everything but only on a surface level. Balance is key- be sure to get enough sleep, be social, exercise, and get all your work done so it is important to manage time well and stay organized.


Have more questions for Amy? Feel free to send her an email: amy_thurston@unc.edu