Could you tell us a little bit about your early educational background?
I received my Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from University of California, Los Angeles in 2016.
What first got you interested in the healthcare field as a career choice? There are a lot of career options in the field – nursing, physician assistant, etc., what made you decide that pharmacy was the right practice area/career choice for you?
When I recognized that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine, I began analyzing which specific area I wanted to make my calling. Having been fascinated by the way the human body functions since I was very young, I initially assumed I would become a general practitioner or another medical doctor. However, after studying medicine as a science and realizing the immense responsibility that rested on those in the scientific side of the pharmaceutical industry, I knew which career path was right for me. Those individuals working in the pharmaceutical side of medicine are responsible for ensuring that the chemistry and synthesis of every drug is precise and safe for doctors to prescribe to patients. I take these responsibilities very seriously and see it as an extension of my own investment in the efficacy and safety of the medical profession. The most talented doctor cannot serve his or her patients effectively if those in the pharmacy waver in their duties.
What type of obstacles have you had to overcome on the road to getting your education and in particular in pursuing your PharmD degree? Was there any one thing that led you to decide, “this is definitely the right move for me”?
I fully understand that the career path I have chosen for myself is not an easy one, nor should it be. However, the difficult moments in my path so far have been the most inspiring and reaffirming of my entire education. As an undergraduate research assistant in UCLA’s Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics, I worked with my research advisor in an attempt to construct the CRISPR-Cas9 system for T. vaginalis in order to manipulate its virulence factors and hopefully discover new information. The attempt took a tremendous amount of time and effort for all of the research assistants, and there were moments when I was not sure if our research would actually work. However, I simply reminded myself that this kind of work could potentially save lives one day, and I immediately had the drive I needed to finish.
Once you decided to pursue a PharmD degree, how did you know that KGI SPHS was the right school for you?
As someone who has been dedicated in my pursuit of a career in the pharmaceutical side of medicine for quite some time, I am confident in the choices I have made to make that future a reality. After some of the most eye-opening and rewarding years of my academic career spent earning my Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from UCLA, I began asking fellow students for their advices on which pharmacy program was best suited to me and my abilities. Time and time again, KGI’s School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences came up as one of the most enriching and comprehensive programs of its kind in the country—stressing the importance of professionalism and networking. With hours of research and planning, I soon arrived at the same conclusion and have had my sights set on earning my Pharm.D. degree at the Keck Graduate Institute’s School of Pharmacy ever since.
What are you most looking forward to about beginning your PharmD studies at KGI?
What I am looking forward to most about beginning my PharmD. studies at KGI is getting to participate in and contribute to such a collaborative and comprehensive learning environment. From the personal experiences KGI SPHS student ambassadors have told me about, I truly cannot wait to invest myself and my abilities in a program that advocates so heavily for interpersonal cooperation and learning. Moreover, by focusing not only on the clinical and community side of the pharmaceutical world, but also on the pharmaceutical industry, I am eager to delve into the completely immersive and comprehensive learning opportunity the School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences provides. Fostering a reliable network of committed professionals and cultivating a strong sense of professionalism myself is of the utmost importance to me. I know that with the support the professors and experts provide in all levels of the program, I will be able to reach the high bar I have set for myself.
What setting do you see yourself working in eventually -in industry, community pharmacy, clinical, government agency, etc.? Why does that area of practice appeal to you?
At this point in time, I envision myself working in either the pharmaceutical industry or in a clinical setting. Both career paths share the same passion for pharmaceutical profession, and I can honestly see myself excelling in either field. I am drawn to the industry side of the pharmacy world because I have lofty goals for myself and the level of professionalism and positive change I want to bring to the entire medical community. Getting to work as part of the powerful pharmaceutical industry would be the best environment for me to achieve those goals in my desired field. However, I am also drawn to the clinical side of the pharmaceutical world because of how intimately and personally I would get to interact with patients. Affecting positive change in the lives of individuals is a completely different yet equally worthy goal that I know I would find immensely rewarding, both personally and professionally.