Meet Our Students

UCSD SSPPS Student Ambassadors

Student Ambassadors for Office of Admissions and Outreach (2019-2020)

 

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

 

Our Students Welcome You to Skaggs

Class of 2024:

Julia Albanez

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

During the pharmacy school application process UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy stood out to me because of the welcoming environment from the faculty and students during interview day. I knew pharmacy school was going to be difficult and stressful at times but meeting the faculty and students during my interview I saw they all have a great supportive community. Also, with the school being right next to the beach they also knew how to have fun and relax! Having a balance during pharmacy school was important to me and I saw I could have that at Skaggs with their 4-year program which allowed for longer breaks to unwind but also have more time explore the pharmacy profession.

What was your most rewarding experience at school?

The most rewarding experience I have had at Skaggs was being able to do a summer research project at Pfizer in their clinical pharmacology department. This is a summer research opportunity through Skaggs where for 10 weeks we get to do research with a mentor in their field. I am interested in going into industry after pharmacy school so this was an amazing way for me to get hands on experience in the field and to learn more how pharmacists can apply the pharmacokinetics, we learn during our P1 year. I had an amazing mentor for the summer who guided me through my research and was fortunate to present two research projects at the American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (ASCPT) virtual annual meeting.

What student organizations are/were you involved with? What is/was your role?

I am the current Chaplain for the professional pharmacy fraternity on campus Kappa Psi. As Chaplain I oversee the pledging process for the fraternity to help our pledges understand the ideals and values of our brotherhood. I am also a Student Ambassador with the Office of Admissions and Outreach. As a Student Ambassador I promote our school through pre-pharmacy and high school outreaches, assist in the interview process, and give school tours to potential new students. Another role I have is that I lead an interest group called UC San Diego Skaggs Journal Club. I coordinate with clinical faculty to serve as the preceptor to host a student-led presentation on a journal article related to the preceptor’s area of specialty. This presentation is followed by a discussion where students apply the conclusions of the article to our pharmacy education. I am also an active member of the industry organization on campus called Pharmaceutical Industry Liaison Loop (PILL). 

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

The best thing about living in San Diego is the weather. Almost 365 days of amazing weather makes this place feel like paradise to live and go to school. There are also so many micro neighborhoods in San Diego to explore with amazing views and restaurants to try. Another great reason to work in San Diego for pharmacy school is that UC San Diego is the only pharmacy school in the area, so students have many more opportunities to explore the many hospital institutions, retail settings, and biotech companies in the area.

Which pharmacy year was your favorite and why?

My favorite pharmacy year so far was my P2 year since it was my first year having mostly in-person classes due to COVID. A unique aspect of our P2 year is that we take classes with the first-year medical students at UC San Diego. It was an amazing way to both learn the same physiology of diseases but then separately learn the pharmacology side as pharmacy students and the diagnostic side for medical students. It was also a great being able to interact with my fellow classmates and faculty in-person rather than through a screen.

What was the most memorable thing about your P1 year?

The most memorable thing about my P1 year was being able to be in-person for our Human Anatomy course. I had never taken an anatomy class before, so I was intimidated to dissect a human cadaver for the first time however, our two professors, Dr. Timothy Bassell and Dr. Paul Kingston, were amazing in assisting us during the dissections and helping us learn the human body as it relates to clinical practice as a pharmacist. By the end of the course, I was amazed at the intricacy and organization of the human body, and I looked forward to using what I had learned in my future classes. I enjoyed the class so much during the P1 year that during my P2 year I enrolled to TA the class to help students enjoy the course as much as I had.

What are your career aspirations?

I am keeping an open mind on what I want to pursue after pharmacy school however, I am interested in going into industry. During my summer internship at Pfizer, I was able to explore other areas of industry including medical affairs and regulatory affairs which piqued my interest into the other areas of industry pharmacists can be in. I am looking forward to my APPE rotations during my P4 year to get more hands-on experience in other areas of pharmacy to better understand what I want to do as a career.

Words of Wisdom to incoming students?

Keep an open mind on what career path you want to do when you enter pharmacy school. There are so many careers you will learn about during your next 4 years, and you will find out every pharmacist has a different journey to get to the career they have today. Do not stress about what your path will be, it won’t be the same exact path as someone else and that is okay! The next 4 years are going to go by so quickly so enjoy your journey, explore as much of the profession as you can and remember to find time for yourself during the craziness of school.

Elizabeth Haddad

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

There are many reasons for which I chose UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy! UCSD is a world class research university and coming to pharmacy school here gives me the chance to be educated by pharmacists who are at the top of their field. Research is a passion of mine since I was an undergraduate and continuing my education at a pharmacy school that emphasizes research and requires students to complete a project before graduating really impressed me. Also, the fact that the second year of pharmacy is an integrated curriculum with the 1st year medical school courses ensures that I have a well-rounded pharmacy education with an understanding of human physiology and the disease states we are able to treat with therapeutics. I know that prepares me for a potential career as a clinical pharmacist in the acute care setting and UCSD is surrounded by many hospital systems for us to intern at.  Furthermore, we are located in “Biotech Beach!”  There are so many opportunities for us to engage within the pharmaceutical industry by attending school near companies like Pfizer and Eli Lilly. Finally, San Diego is one of the most beautiful cities that you can explore.

What was your most rewarding experience at school?

The most rewarding experience at school was chairing CSHP’s 17th Annual Phun Run and Silent Auction. We hosted a 5K race that started at the pharmacy school and went throughout the UCSD undergrad campus. Over 150 people attended this year and over 20 brands donated refreshments, protein bars, and gift cards for all the attendees to enjoy and use in the silent auction. All the proceeds for this event went to the Student Run Free Clinics which made it even more special to host since the free clinics are my favorite place to volunteer. This was the first in person Phun Run since the pandemic and it was amazing to see everyone having a good time for a good cause. 

What student organizations are/were you involved with? What is/was your role?

I have been involved in the California Society of Health System Pharmacists since my P1 year. During my first year, I was on the Poison Prevention and the Phun Run committees. My second year, I was the Phun Run Chair and planned the 17th Annual Phun Run for our student run free clinics. As a P3, I will be the Professional Affairs Chair and plan our annual residency and fellowship showcase that will give students a chance to interact with programs directly. I also have been involved with APhA’s outreach events through which we can provide health screenings for the community.

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

San Diego is a biotech and health care hub. As student pharmacists, there are so many internships and future career opportunities for us to explore. Since we are surrounded by multiple hospital systems, research labs, and pharmaceutical companies; it’s possible for us to explore all these paths. Most importantly, San Diego is beautiful which means that our time off can be well spent. After exams, we can easily destress at the beach since it’s only a couple minutes away. There is amazing food all over the city which also means you can always try something new.

Which pharmacy year was your favorite and why?

My P2 year was my favorite because I loved taking integrated science courses with the 1st year medical students. It was fun interacting with the medical students and joining them for small group conferences. Most importantly, I really enjoyed learning human physiology and a little about disease states. It really complemented our Principles of Physiology and Pharmacology course since I could better understand a medication’s mechanism of action. 

What was the most memorable thing about your P1 year?

My most memorable experience of my P1 year was completing my first shift at the UCSD Student Run Free Clinics. I was astonished by how the school of medicine and pharmacy come together to run a free clinic for the underserved community of San Diego. The students truly run the clinics and our wonderful preceptors supervise and teach us. This made me become an Immunization Project manager at the free clinic during which I worked with my peers to obtain and administer various vaccines for the patients.

What are your career aspirations?

I am hoping to pursue a residency to further solidify my clinical knowledge and prepare me for my future role as a pharmacist.

Words of Wisdom to incoming students?

First of all, be proud of yourself for joining a noble profession through which you can make an impact in people’s lives. Learn as much as you can in class from your professors and peers.  Get involved with school organizations, internships, and research. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy your time in pharmacy school because it goes by really fast!

Louis Odeesho

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

I could go on and on about why I chose UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy. One reason is that it is consistently ranked as one of the top pharmacy schools in the country as we saw recently. Additionally, I liked the idea of being in a smaller school within a large university. This allows for a more personal and intimate learning environment. I was very impressed with the faculty and staff during my interview day and felt they would be able to provide me with the support and guidance I need to be successful in pharmacy school. Also, the location, and weather, are what initially drew me to UC San Diego. After learning more about the school and meeting with faculty and students, I knew that this was the place for me. The collaborative and supportive environment at Skaggs School of Pharmacy was unlike any other and I knew that I would be able to grow and develop both professionally and personally.

What was your most rewarding experience at school?

There are many rewarding experiences to be had while attending UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy. For me, the most rewarding experience was the opportunity to work closely with experienced pharmacists and learn from their knowledge. It was incredibly rewarding to work with such a passionate and dedicated team of health care professionals. Additionally, the small class sizes allowed for more one-on-one interaction with professors, which was extremely beneficial. I also had the pleasure to work with patients and see the direct impact of my work on their health in places such as the free clinic and the many outreach events.

What student organizations are/were you involved with? What is/was your role?

I found myself leaning toward organizations that have outreach events such as APhA, CSHP, and SNPhA. I enjoy the events where we go out to underserved communities and vaccinate people, whether by giving them the flu shot or more recently, COVID-19 vaccines.

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

San Diego is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The weather is perfect, the people are friendly, and the scenery is breathtaking. I love living and working here! There are endless activities to do! Whether you want to go to the beach, explore the city, or take a hike, there is always something to do.

Which pharmacy year was your favorite and why?

I would say P2 is my favorite for two reasons. First, my P1 was almost all virtual because of COVID so that wasn’t fun at all. Second, I finally got to meet everyone in person and not just through a zoon meeting. I also liked the fact that we have the integrated science courses in P2 with the med students which were educational and fun to work and study with first-year med students

What was the most memorable thing about your P1 year?

My favorite memory from P1 happened during spring quarter. One day after anatomy lab, two classmates and I decided to go and walk on the beach while still wearing our scrubs which was very funny. We got some confused looks from a few people there, but we still had lots of fun regardless.

What are your career aspirations?

After working at the inpatient pharmacy at both Sharp and Alvarado hospitals, I can confidently say it is a perfect fit for me. I love the inpatient environment, the pharmacists have the chance to develop relationships with the nursing staff and physicians in the hospital, which can lead to better patient care.

Words of Wisdom to incoming students?

There are a few things that I think are important for students who are just starting in pharmacy school. First, always keep up with your coursework and don’t fall behind. It’s very easy to do and can be hard to catch up with if you do fall behind. Second, get to know your classmates and build a support network. Everyone is in the same boat as you and it’s nice to have people to study with and lean on when things get tough. Lastly, have fun! Pharmacy school is a lot of work but it’s also a time in your life when you meet a lot of great people and make lasting friendships.

Dan Surdilla

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

Although the number of pharmacy schools has rapidly grown across California, even today, my original decision to pursue a PharmD degree at UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy would not change. One of the main reasons I chose this school is that the 2nd year curriculum is integrated with the 1st year UCSD Medical School students. Although the 2nd year was probably the most challenging, the clinical knowledge we learn will help us become well-rounded pharmacists in the future. After reading that the school had introduced the approach of blending different cohorts on the website, and the process was reiterated during my interview, I knew this was the right fit. On a personal note, I moved from the Philippines when I was 12 and have lived in San Diego ever since. My family and friends have been my support system throughout this journey, and being able to go to a pharmacy school near my home is such a blessing.

What was your most rewarding experience at school?

 The most rewarding school experience has been giving back to the underserved communities throughout San Diego. There are multiple ways this can be done as a student: getting involved with the UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic at Normal Heights, Pacific Beach, and Downtown San Diego. The primary demographics of each clinic's patients are those who don’t qualify for other healthcare programs or resources. As student volunteers, we can help by filling medications, typing prescriptions in English or Spanish, and counseling with the help of the pharmacists on-site. I loved volunteering and helping out this community so much that I applied and became a Free Clinic manager at Normal Heights. The constant collaboration of the pharmacy and med school students has been a rewarding experience, and I can’t wait to continue helping out with this fantastic program.

What student organizations are/were you involved with? What is/was your role?

I was involved with a few organizations during my second year in pharmacy school. First, I served as the Vice President of Finance for ASP (Association of Student Pharmacists). During this role, my primary focal points were overseeing and balancing all classes' budgets, executing three school-wide fundraisers, and planning the end-of-the-year school banquet. Ultimately, this organization is like the umbrella organization at Skaggs, where each student matriculates under ASP.

The second organization I was involved in was APhA-ASP/CPhA (American Pharmacists Association-ASP/California Pharmacists Association). In this national organization, UCSD has its own chapter that focuses on patient outreach and professional growth among student pharmacists. Over the last year, I served as the Membership Vice President, where I held responsibilities completing the Fall/Spring Membership Drives and working alongside UCSD’s Pre Pharmacy Society for our Mentor-Mentee program.

Last but certainly not least, I was involved with Kappa Psi Delta Phi, UCSD’s chapter of one of the oldest professional pharmacy fraternities in the nation. The primary mission of this organization is to provide a networking opportunity for student pharmacists and give back to the community through our philanthropic events. I am very excited to continue to be part of this organization and was recently elected as the Regent (President) of our chapter, where I’ll oversee our board members' operations.

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

The best thing about living in San Diego is having plenty of options for food and the beach. Whenever I need to de-stress, I can choose any type of dish and just drive to our local beaches, such as Mission Beach or La Jolla. As far as working in San Diego, we are fortunate to be surrounded by many different hospitals, such as UCSD, Sharp, and Scripps, to name a few. Correspondingly, this gives students various opportunities to pursue an internship in the hospital setting; moreover, other options exist, such as independent pharmacies positioned all over San Diego.

Which pharmacy year was your favorite and why?

 My favorite pharmacy year so far is probably my P2 year. During P2, my class experienced the peak of COVID, which unfortunately caused the majority of our first year to be virtual. My friends and I ensured that for our 2nd year, we would make the best of our experience. We recently went to Western Pharmacy Exchange in Las Vegas, Nevada, a vast conference hosted by CPhA (California Pharmacy Association), where I presented my first ever poster presentation. Although P2 year is the toughest so far in our curriculum, we figured out a way to balance life outside of school while maintaining our academic goals.

What was the most memorable thing about your P1 year?

The most memorable thing about my P1 year was when we could do an in-person event at the end of the year. I was part of the P1 Class Board, and we were allowed to do an outdoor picnic with our class. This event allowed us to bond outside of our zoom sessions. It was a breath of fresh air just to talk to each other and hang out as a class.

What are your career aspirations?

 After finishing my two years of pharmacy school and experiencing all of the introductory rotations we have in the community and hospital, I want to pursue a residency in acute/ambulatory care. I want to continue learning valuable skills through residency and hope to end up in a pharmacist role with a great work-life balance. 

Words of Wisdom to incoming students?

Get involved as much as you can! Our pass/no pass curriculum is designed to take off a lot of pressure academically, so why not take advantage and do more things you’re passionate about? Find those moments during school to have fun and do things that don't involve studying. There are plenty of student organizations that will most likely match your interests. Lastly, make sure to network as much as you can in all possible ways. Whether it’s a faculty, guest lecturer, a preceptor, start making those connections because, as you would hear all the time, “pharmacy is a small world!”

Class of 2023:

Jessica Gutierrez

Jessica GutierrezWhy did you choose UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy?

I chose UCSD SSPPS because it was the most affordable option for me. As a first-generation minority, raised by a single mother, finances is a factor that weighs heavily on me. I don’t have the luxury to fall back on my parents for financial help. On the contrary, my parents rely on me to succeed. UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy is a school that paves the way for students from all financial backgrounds to succeed. It was the smartest financial decision I made to pursue a higher education.

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

Being a Student Ambassador at Skaggs has by far been the most rewarding experience for me. As Student Ambassador, I have been able to do outreach events at schools with undergraduate students. At these events I speak about the opportunities there are for pharmacists and inspire other Latinx/Hispanic students like me to pursue a career in the sciences. I also speak about our program at Skaggs, and over the years I have had some 1st year pharmacy students tell me that I am the reason they chose Skaggs. These outreach events are very rewarding because they make me feel and see the difference I am making in my school and in the field of pharmacy. Seeing the outcome and the impact I make in these students inspires me to continue doing what I do. I am grateful to be a Student Ambassador and it is easily the most rewarding experience at school so far.

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

I am involved with PUMP, which is a program where I get to mentor pharmacy applicants during the application process of pharmacy school. I mentor these students on how to fill their PharmCAS application, I give helpful tips on how to be a stronger candidate, and how to give a strong interview. I enjoy this role because I get to interact with students who are in the same position I was in a few years ago when I was applying for pharmacy school. I am also the founding Mental Health Initiative Chair for UCSD SNPhA’s chapter. I LOVE being the Mental Health Initiative Chair. As the founding chair I get to create events from scratch and raise awareness on mental health care to our students and to the underserved communities in San Diego. 

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

The best thing about living in San Diego is the weather. I say this because I never feel guilty to spend a day studying indoors because I know the next day will be another sunny day. Even when I’m struggling with school or I’m overwhelmed with the workload, having the ability to open a window or walk outside is a blessing. We almost always have great weather, and it makes a huge difference in my day-to-day attitude. I think everyone living in San Diego is fortunate to have great weather daily. In undergrad I went to a school that had gray skies almost year-round, and I never realized how much that impacted my life and made me feel down until I moved to San Diego. My advice to everyone is to attend a school with an environment that makes you happy. It’s those little things that end up making or breaking you.

What is the most memorable thing about your P1 year?

The most memorable thing about P1 year was COVID-19! Although it wasn’t fun going virtual, I think it was an experience I will never forget. I remember our faculty and staff reassuring us that everything was fine, and we would continue our daily schedules as planned. Then one day we received an email from the chancellor telling us that everything would be different. The whole thing felt like a movie, and it was very surreal. I know one day people will be asking what it was like to go through COVID-19 and I’ll have this unique story of not only being a student during this time, but a healthcare worker.

What are your career aspirations?

My path towards pharmacy started from a family emergency that involved urgent need for mental health care. I started paying attention to the drugs that were prescribed to my family-member and began to wonder how these drugs work. Thus, I aspire to be a psychiatric pharmacist. However, once I started pharmacy school, I began to see the negative attitudes other disciplines had towards pharmacists. Now I see how under-utilized pharmacists are. So, in addition to psychiatric pharmacy, I am also interested in administrative pharmacy because I would like to be a leader who pushes for more recognition for pharmacists across the nation.

Words of Wisdom to incoming students?

Pharmacy school is what you make of it. If you stress out over everything, then it will be a stressful journey. If you isolate yourself and never make time for friends, then you will feel very lonely. However, if you remember to take it day by day and tackle each task one at a time, then the workload doesn’t seem so bad. Get involved and ALWAYS set time for yourself each week. Do something that makes you happy and try to take breaks from school. It’s only 4 years and they will go by quickly!

Sarina Jenkins

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

When choosing a pharmacy school, I knew I wanted one that had a great curriculum, high residency match rates and high licensing exam pass rates. UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy checked all those boxes but when I visited the school, I found it also had a fantastic community that supports each other through school and outside of school. To me, that support was an aspect I didn't even know I wanted but would ultimately lead to my success in pharmacy school. 

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

​I was the Phun Run Chair for the CSHP chapter at UCSD (California Society of Health-System Pharmacists) my P2 year and while I thought I was planning a fun event, it ended up being my most rewarding experience. We were able to organize a virtual workout event where participants could join live workout rooms or run a 5k on their own (socially distanced because of the COVID-19 pandemic) and we are able to raise over $2,000 for the UCSD student-run Free Clinics! Being able to contribute to the Free Clinics which do so much for the community was extremely fulfilling. 

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

I am currently the CSHP Secretary/Treasurer/Public Relations Chair for the upcoming school year! I work with the other board members to financially plan their events and I am responsible for the social media posts as well! 

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

​The great weather and variety of food! As someone who enjoys being outdoors and eating, San Diego is a pretty great place to be. Also, San Diego has a lot of health systems that hire interns which is a plus to get pharmacy experience. 

What is the most memorable thing about your P1 year?

​While the end of my P1 year was cut short due to COVID, I really enjoyed volunteering and making friends during the in-person portion of the year! Volunteering was a great way for me to confirm that I enjoy pharmacy and to reinforce my learning while making friends was necessary for me to balance my life and get support. 

What are your career aspirations?

I'm currently working in an inpatient pharmacy, and I would like to continue that path and go to a residency program after graduation! I'm still very interested in a lot of different aspects of pharmacy so I'm not exactly sure what path I want to take after that, whether it be ambulatory care, administration, or a specialty within inpatient pharmacy. The great thing about pharmacy is there are so many paths! 

Words of Wisdom to incoming students?

Follow what you're interested in! If an organization sounds interesting to you, join it. If a leadership role sounds fun, run for it! Don't hold yourself back by not going for what you're interested in because you may not get it. 

 

Michael Ley

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

I chose UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy for many reasons; This school provides an excellent education that ensures students are prepared for a career in pharmacy as soon as they graduate. Another reason why I chose UC San Diego is because of their residency match rates being some of the highest in California. Lastly, I chose UC San Diego because of the people; Everyone is so supportive and friendly, they make me feel at home even though I’m from out of state! 

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

The most rewarding experience at school thus far has been applying what I learn to real life scenarios. My favorite part of learning pharmacy is using that knowledge to instill confidence and trust in my patients. It is very rewarding to see someone who was initially confused, worried, and/or stressed about their medications change into someone who is empowered and content with their course of therapy. 

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

I am the former president-elect and current president of CPNP (College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists). My role in this position is overseeing all fundraisers, outreaches and educational activities for this student organization as well as collaborating with other student organizations to host joint events. I am also a Student Ambassador with the Office of Admissions and Outreach. In this role, I promote our school through undergraduate university and high school outreaches. In addition, I am part of the interview process, and I am present on interview day to answer questions and give school tours. Another role I have is the co-founder of an interest group called UC San Diego Skaggs Journal Club. In this role, I coordinate with practicing clinicians (to serve as the preceptor) to host a student-led presentation on a pharmacy-related literature. This presentation is followed by a discussion where students apply the conclusions of the article to our pharmacy education.  I am also an active member of CSHP (California Society of Health-System Pharmacists) and APhA (American Pharmacists Association). 

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

The best part about living and working in San Diego is that there is always something to do. The ocean is less than 5 minutes from campus where you can indulge in surfing, snorkeling, swimming, sunbathing and more! You can reach beautiful mountain hikes within a 30-minute drive east as well as the desert if you continue further. I love going to Padres games downtown and exploring all the amazing food options this city has to offer. Since I am from Ohio, I also appreciate the 70-degree winters! 

What is the most memorable thing about your P1 year? 

The most memorable thing about my P1 year were the Pharmacy Practice workshops. I really enjoyed learning about the different types of asthma inhalers, insulin administration, and tips on counseling our patients. It was fun to interact with my classmates and participate in hands-on activities! 

What are your career aspirations? 

Currently I am keeping my options open heading into my fourth-year rotations however, I am interested in psychiatric and pediatric pharmacy. I really enjoy talking with people and building relationships therefore, I am interested in ambulatory care. I also like the fast-paced environment that inpatient pharmacy provides. Industry also intrigues me because I enjoy drug development and research. I plan to pursue a residency or possibly a fellowship, however I am not sure at this moment what/where that will be! 

Words of Wisdom to incoming students? 

Pharmacy school is only four years long, so make the most of it! Study hard and get involved in student organizations early because that is where you will meet your friends and future colleagues. Also, take advantage of living in San Diego; UCSD is in a beautiful area with many activities to partake in. Everyone at UCSD wants to see you succeed, so reach out and ask a lot of questions! 

 

Tyler Sanders

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

UC San Diego is ranked one of the top pharmacy schools in the county. I only applied to three schools for pharmacy school. UC San Diego was by far my number one choice. As an undergraduate student at Howard University, I was fortunate enough to participate in the Summer Training Academy for Research Success (STARS) program which allows students from different historically black colleges and universities to do research for a summer under a UCSD faculty member. This program allows students to have access to lab research experience, student development workshops, and career workshops. This was my first time in California. I was blown away by the beaches, mountains, and the many research opportunities in this area. One other reason I chose UCSD is the fact that it is the only pharmacy school within a 100 mile radius. This means that students have many opportunities for internships and future job opportunities without having to compete with students from other programs.

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

My most rewarding experience has been being able to vaccinate members of underserved communities to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. I was able to do this by volunteering with organizations such as Champions of Health and the San Diego Black Nurses Association which both focus on serving minority populations. It was great to be able to give these patients education about the vaccinations and address any concerns with taking the vaccine.

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

As a P1, I was fortune to be a member of my class board where I served as the Vice President of Finance. With this position, I was able to manage class finances for class socials and organize fundraisers to raise money to have class events. As a P2, I was able to help charter a new organization at Skaggs which is called SNPhA. The Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) is a national student pharmaceutical organization. Its main objective is to serve the underserved community. I currently serve as a founder and the President of this organization. Some events that we have done as organization are vaccination clinics with the San Diego Black Nurses Association and mentoring events with local high school students. In my second year, I also served as a student ambassador. Some duties I have as an ambassador include interviewing students, advising for pre-pharmacy students, and giving presentations to undergraduate students who are interested in applying. Under my student ambassadorship, I am also fortunate to be on our Pharmacy Underrepresented Mentorship Program (PUMP) team. As a member of this team, I am able to assist with workshops for potential students that identify as minorities. As a P3, I will be continuing my roles as an ambassador and SNPhA president.

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

My favorite thing about working and living in San Diego is the fact that there are beaches that surround our campus. The weather is also amazing.

What is the most memorable thing about your P1 year?

My most memorable thing from P1 year is our class socials. It was great to learn so much about my classmates and their backgrounds. 

What are your career aspirations?

My career aspirations are to eventually become a business owner. Growing up in New Orleans, many of our population do not have access to adequate healthcare. They are also not many pharmacists of color which can cause mistrust between patients. I would like to open up pharmacies across my hometown to educate patients not only about the importance of medication therapies but also non-medication therapies. I also want them to feel comfortable when talking about their medications and medication history.

Words of Wisdom to incoming students?

I think it is important to have a good school and life balance. Many of us can get overwhelmed and not have an avenue to destress. Find people that you can take time to hang out with and do fun things.

 

Camilla Wu

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

There's so many amazing things about Skaggs that I can't list them all here, but my absolute favorite thing that made me choose Skaggs was the small class size. Pharmacy is such a small world and the connections you make in pharmacy school are so important. I wanted to make sure I could form close bonds with my classmates and the amazing faculty, which I've definitely been able to do these past few years! The affordable tuition also helped tremendously.

What was your most rewarding experience at school?

My most rewarding experience was volunteering at the Covid-19 vaccination clinics at Petco Park and RIMAC. It was one of the first things I did in pharmacy school, and it was an amazing opportunity to start off my pharmacy career. I was able to become an experienced vaccinator (and get over my fear of needles), interact with many patients, and best of all, feel like I was making a difference!

What student organizations are/were you involved with? What is/was your role?

I've been on both class board and executive board with the Association of Student Pharmacists (ASP) for my entire time in pharmacy school thus far. For my first and second years, I was the Vice President of Information Resources, where I managed the class's schedule and social media platforms. This P3 year, I'm serving as Vice President of Networking on the ASP executive board, where I manage the mentor-mentee program between pharmacists and students, facilitate communications with Skaggs alumni, and organize networking talks! I am also the leader of my class's California Pharmacy Student Leadership (CAPSLead) research team, where we are examining how the public and different populations in healthcare perceive pharmacists differently. For the past year and this upcoming year, I am also a Student Ambassador with the Office of Admissions and Outreach. As a student ambassador, I am able to interview prospective pharmacy students as well as educate pre-pharmacy students about pharmacy school, the application process, and all the amazing things Skaggs has to offer! I'm also a member of the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists (CSHP), through which I attended a professional conference and presented my research.

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

I attended UC San Diego for my undergrad as well, so I've been enjoying the amazing weather and close proximity to beautiful beaches for a few years now! The weather is very mild and it's a beautiful place to live in. I've enjoyed exploring San Diego's food, beaches, and historical attractions with my family.

Which pharmacy year was your favorite and why?
I really enjoyed P1 year because I was able to dive into the world of pharmacy and build a foundation of knowledge for the therapeutics I will be learning this upcoming P3 year. P1 year teaches you a lot about "how to be a pharmacist" and all the different opportunities and specialties that are out there. It was also really interesting to begin learning about how medications work in the body, which was something I was really curious about prior to entering pharmacy school.

What was the most memorable thing about your P1 year?

The most memorable part of my P1 year was finally being able to meet all of my classmates in-person! I started pharmacy school at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, so we were confined to Zoom lectures and messaging apps. Being able to meet all my classmates and friends in-person for the first time in anatomy lab was really fun!

What are your career aspirations?

I'm currently keeping my options open until I'm able to experience different paths in pharmacy first-hand during my fourth year rotations. Right now I have an interest in regulatory affairs, but I'm open to exploring more paths in pharmacy before I make a decision on my career!

Words of Wisdom to incoming students?

Stay organized and keep track of things you need to do! As a pharmacy student, you'll need to balance your studies, work, student orgs, research, volunteering, and personal life, which can quickly get very overwhelming. It's so easy to fall behind or forget about things with the hectic life of a pharmacy student, so I think it's extremely important to either do things as soon as they're assigned, or allot specific times in your schedule for them. To be completely realistic, I can't tell you not to procrastinate or cram because it's unavoidable with such a busy schedule sometimes, but starting and finishing tasks early is very helpful to prevent stress from building up!

 

 

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