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Meet Our Students

Take a moment to meet some of our current students. You will learn some fun personal information about them as well as why they chose Pharmacy as a profession and their experiences in school so far.

ASP Website: http://asucsd.wixsite.com/asucsd

Class of 2019:


Kaylene De Vries, Class of 2019

Kaylene De Vries

Kaylene is from McFarland, CA and graduated from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. She goes surfing any chance she gets and loves to enjoy the San Diego air. Her favorite food is tacos and she loves to eat them while binging Supernatural on Netflix. Her life goal is to surf the coast of every major country at least once.

Why did you choose UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy?

The biggest reason I chose to come to Skaggs School of Pharmacy was because I missed home after being out of state for four years of undergrad. The small class sizes and the personal relationships students develop with their professors were just additional perks. It also didn’t hurt that the school provides many opportunities for students to get out into the community and work even before completing their degree.

What has been your most rewarding experience at school so far?

The most rewarding experience I have had so far has been working in the student run free clinics. I was fortunate enough to run the immunization program at the clinics for a year and a half and during that time I truly understood the influence a pharmacist can have in the community. We all know that pharmacists are on the front lines of public health, but actually getting to work with those who generally can’t afford health care first hand and make a difference in their lives was and is an incredible experience.

What student organizations are you involved with? What is your role?

One of the great things about the small class sizes at Skaggs is that everyone is incredibly involved in nearly every organization on campus. I myself am lucky enough to serve on several of those executive boards and develop my skills as a leader while studying here at UCSD. I have served as Operation Immunization Chair for APhA-ASP/CPhA, Sergeant-at-Arms for Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity - Delta Phi Chapter, and Class President for AS during my P2 year. Currently, I serve as Regent of Kappa Psi and CPhA Board of Delegates Representative for APhA-ASP/CPhA. Through these opportunities I have been able to increase student involvement in outreach programs and pushed more of them to develop their networking skills especially when we attend conferences throughout the year

What is the best thing about living and working in San Diego?

The best thing about being in San Diego is definitely the beach. I know everyone says that, but its true San Diego has perfect weather nearly year round and having the beach right there so close to school is amazing. There’s no better way to de-stress from work and school than a relaxing walk on the beach or a quick surf.

What is the most memorable thing about your P1 year?

The most memorable thing about my P1 year was definitely our Thanksgiving potluck. Since Skaggs keeps the class size small, we all get to know each other really well and get together as a class outside of school. The Thanksgiving potluck was our first huge social event and it was a ton of fun, everyone brought something home-made and we spent the whole time laughing and dancing around. It was a really nice way to get the stress of midterms off of everyone’s mind.

What are your career aspirations?

My career aspirations are constantly changing. With every new class and guest lecturer, there are a ton of options and it makes it hard to decide where I want to work once I’m a pharmacist. At the moment, I want to work in retail and move my way up the ladder to eventually be CEO of a company like CVS. However, after experiencing my first IPPE hospital rotation, emergency medicine has really appealed to my fast pace state of mind. Thankfully, Skaggs has lots of resources students can use to explore the many career options pharmacy offers.

Words of Wisdom to incoming students?

Always make time for yourself! Sometimes with the busy class schedule, all the orgs on campus, clinic, and work, pharmacy student life can seem hectic and overwhelming. What’s really helped me survive is always making time to do something for myself whether it be a quick thirty-minute walk to grab coffee with a friend or a whole Saturday at the beach; anything non-pharmacy related to keep me grounded.

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Serinna Singh, Class of 2019

Serinna Singh

Que onda (what’s up) everyone! My name is Serinna; some call me Chata. As I write this intro section for you all, I am currently a P3 and it is early October 2017. I’m from Calexico, California – where this past July, temperatures shot up to 125 degrees!

A little bit about my nerdy background: I majored in chemistry, with a minor in biology, at the University of San Diego (USD, not UCSD or SDSU). What do I like doing in my spare time? Cruising around the neighborhood, with windows down and music blasting! I’m also a huge fan of dancing salsa and bachata. One of my favorite times of the year is San Diego Restaurant Week because I love going on “food adventures”. San Diego keeps churning out new cafes and food spots - it’s insanely fun meeting all of them. I’m also big on napping. Yep, if you can’t seem to find me for a couple hours, I’m most likely in dreamland under my fleece blanket. Favorite artists? On the Latino music scene, Nicky Jam!!!! On the American side, Keith Sweat!!

Why did you choose UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy?

Skaggs was the only pharmacy school I applied to because it was the best fit for me, my interests, and my skill set. A number of factors went into this decision. My undergrad experience was amazing, and I know a lot of it had to do with the fact that class sizes were maintained at around 30 students. When I compared the class sizes of pharmacy schools in California, picking Skaggs was a no-brainer.

UCSD was already on my radar though. The way I saw it, there were three big reasons why it was the way to go for me – starting with the fact that it’s only about 1.5 hours away from my family and hometown. Plus, there’s the huge appeal of taking second year classes with the medical students from our neighbor across Osler Lane, UCSD’s School of Medicine. One of the beautiful aspects about UCSD’s Student Run Free Clinic is it lends itself to plenty of collaboration between pharmacy and medical students. And what an awesome feeling it is, realizing how many of those friendly faces look familiar because you’ve already shared classes and worked on projects together. Another amazing detail that I believe truly sets UCSD apart from the rest of the California pharmacy schools is its proximity to the US-Mexican border. Since I speak Spanish, I knew I would feel extremely useful with any health outreach in areas like these. You see, another benefit of having the School of Medicine as our next door neighbor means that the medical students reach out to pharmacy students so we collaborate together on health outreach events in the community. Pretty genius, don’t you think?

Finally, navy blue is a good color on everybody.

What has been your most rewarding experience at school so far?

My ultimate favorite: the UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic (SRFC). Attending physicians and pharmacists oversee the show on the healthcare side, but it is such an impressive scene where medical and pharmacy students work together to provide care to patients in need. Free clinic has a core philosophy, the tenets being: (1) EMPOWERMENT, or helping patients feel they are taking charge of their health and well-being; (2) HUMANISTIC, which reminds us the value of awareness, empathy, and humility during each patient connection; (3) TRANSDISCIPLINARY, which highlights the value of members from different disciplines collaborating - with the patient connecting us all together; and (4) COMMUNITY AS TEACHER, which reminds us that there’s always an opportunity to learn, especially from our patients. Hopefully now, you can imagine what a rewarding environment it is to be a part of.

In your P1 year at Skaggs, each student is assigned a clinic day they must attend each week (for a total of 3 visits). This very IPPE experience is the one that sparked my love and fascination for free clinic, which continues to this very day. I feel injected with the same energy and enthusiasm because each clinic visit experience confirms I am in the right career. Free Clinic is where I feel I fit in – and you can imagine how seamlessly, given that Spanish was my first language. It’s so fulfilling to connect with our patients, because at free clinic we have the time to tune into them and truly gauge how they are feeling. That’s why counseling is always my favorite part at free clinic. I can walk through their medications at an easy pace so they feel reassured, safe, noticed, and listened to. (Plus, I don’t need a translator). UCSD’s SRFC not only grants us the opportunity to hone our bedside manner with patients, but what a feeling it is when you see physicians pop over to consult our pharmacists on medications. It reminds you of what makes our career as pharmacists so special: we are the drug experts.

What are your career aspirations?

You shouldn’t panic if you haven’t walked into Skaggs (or pharmacy school in general), already knowing exactly what you want to do. Trust me, it’ll just hit you one day and you will realize what appeals to you – like when you walk into a new café and something about that random drink with the mint makes your gut yell out “go for THAT one!”

I have three plan A’s: (1) apply for residency (love the rush of the hospital environment); (2) work for CVS y Mas (chain of retail CVS targeting the Hispanic population, and one already opened up close to home); (3) Costco (apparently people are happy there).

Words of Wisdom to incoming students?

Don’t let classes overwhelm you and get you obsessing about ‘brain stuff’. It’s definitely very important to know your material, but NEVER forget the value of being human. Of common sense. Of knowing how to connect with your fellow person. I hope pharmacists continue to advance in their recognition and value as part of the healthcare team – but this will only happen if we know how to be the best we can be. That means it’s not enough to just be the best nerd; you also need to know how to relate and meld with people too!

Remember to always be your beautiful self, even if the dominant, “popular” culture or personality set in your environment is something completely opposite. I truly believe being REAL is better than being perfect. No te dejes! Entrale con ganas y siguen adelante homies!

FUN stuff

What are the top 15 songs rotating on your music playlist right now?

  • Vas a Querer Regresar – Christian Nodal
  • Return of the Mack – Mark Morrison
  • Only You (Bad Boy Remix) [feat. The Notorious B.I.G. & Mase] – 112
  • Twisted – Keith Sweat
  • Bella y Sensual – Romeo Santos, Daddy Yankee & Nicky Jam
  • Superheroe – Nicky Jam & J Balvin
  • Si una vez – Selena
  • Come and Get with Me (feat. Snoop Dogg) – Keith Sweat
  • Pretty Girl – NB Ridaz
  • Bobo – J Balvin
  • SI Tu Novio Te Deja Sola (feat. Bad Bunny) – J Balvin
  • El Perdedor (the Remix) [feat. Yandel] – Maluma
  • I’ll be around – The Spinners
  • Baila esta Cumbia – Selena
  • Suavecito - Malo

Reflections I’m feeling at the moment:

  • Rhythm is Life and Life is Rhythm – Warren G “Regulate”
  • Great things never came from comfort zones – author unknown
  • Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you – author unknown
  • What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create - Buddha
  • The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why – Mark Twain

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Tran Nguyen, Class of 2019

Tran Nguyen

My name is Tran Nguyen. I am originally from Vietnam and I have graduated from UC Berkeley in 2015 with a major of Molecular Environmental Biology. In my free time, I love doing hot yoga and outdoor activities, doing completely nothing after a long day of school or work, and travelling when school is not in session. I have been fortunate to visit more than 15 countries and I constantly find more opportunities to travel to even more places, especially when those opportunities are mission trips to help those in need. Right now, I would love to travel to Africa because I have heard that the culture is incredibly unique and the animals are so majestic and I would love to see and experience that in person.

Why did you choose UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy?

I was intrigued by Skaggs when I learned about the small class size of around 60 students and how approachable and inspiring the professors are. Although those two are still certainly true, I have found millions of other reasons that made me so grateful and humbled that I get to spend 4 years learning and making memories at Skaggs. All of us are so engaged in helping the local communities through UCSD Free Clinic as well as other communities such as Tijuana across the border with CSHP. Our professors and staffs are not only knowledgeable and resourceful, but also caring and kind to all of us. With the Pass/Fail system, we are all trying our best while constantly helping each other constantly. There is no such thing as a cut-throat learning environment at Skaggs. We all agree that Skaggs is a family, not just a school. There are so many other great things about Skaggs and I would love to meet you in person and share more of my experience with you.

What has been your most rewarding experience at school so far?

The most rewarding experience at school so far has been taking the anatomy course in the Spring quarter of P1 year. Our school is the only pharmacy school in the nation that offers anatomy course and I am so humbled and grateful for the opportunity. Since I am a visual learner, after taking the course and understanding that there are more than hundreds of ways to deliver drugs to our human bodies, I can now visualize where drugs are metabolized and delivered. And now more than ever, I honor and appreciate the complexity and grandeur of our human bodies and that has inspired greatly to become a compassionate and well-informed pharmacist.

What student organizations are you involved with? What is your role?

Since our school provides lots of leadership opportunities, I have had chances to be involved with many organizations such as ACTION, ASP, and UCSD Free Clinic. As an ACTION Leader, I organize different events for our student body for annual celebrations such as Welcome Back event, Valentine's Day, Chinese New Year, etc. As Association of Student Pharmacists (ASP) President, I plan annual school events, oversee all of our school organizations and help leaders organize their events for student body, and lastly serve as a communication bridge between students and faculty. I am involved with UCSD Free Clinic as a Pneumovax Clinic Manager. My role is to constantly check if our patients are indicated for Pneumovax vaccine or any other immunization such as Tdap before the clinic visits, administer the vaccines, and communicate with vaccine manufacturers and county health offices for reimbursement and funding. The opportunities offered here at school are incredibly diverse, I am sure anyone can find something that they are passionate about and get involved with here at Skaggs.

What is the best thing about living and working in San Diego?

Besides all the delicious Mexican and ramen places here in San Diego, I love driving along the beaches in such nice beautiful weather. We are spoiled in San Diego! 😊

What is the most memorable thing about your P1 year?

After sitting in huge classrooms with more than 400 students back in those undergraduate years, I found it so fun and cozy to be in the same classroom with the same 60 classmates every day. We bring snacks for each other and share study notes on daily basis. I absolutely love this about pharmacy school!

What are your career aspirations?

I would love to become a clinical pharmacist who has figured out times to not only see patients or work in a hospital to triage and answer clinical questions, but also teach students in academic settings like our professors.

Words of Wisdom to incoming students?

This might sound very cliché. However, you should never be reluctant to reach out for new opportunities to learn more about different areas of pharmacy and to ask questions. Always seize any opportunity that is offered to you while practicing/maintaining good time-managing skills.

I also have learned that I have learned most about the medications' common precautions and side effects from participating many volunteer events. Thus, I always keep a small notepad in my white coat pocket and always jot things down as I encounter different medications at free clinics and volunteer events, or at work. By jotting those facts down as you learn them on-the-job, you instantly remember them more than trying to memorize them during lectures or for tests. Overtime, you build a vast amount of knowledge from seeing the medications "in action" and recall those memories more instantly.

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