Balancing leadership roles with three student organizations and full-time coursework, Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) Doctor of Pharmacy student Jennifer Nguyen also serves as intern pharmacist at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center.
Deservedly so, the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists (CSHP) awarded Nguyen with the Student Leadership Award for her contributions to CSHP and the profession of pharmacy. She received the honor at the CSHP Seminar in San Diego on Oct. 6.
“It’s no surprise Jennifer received this award,” said Kerry Anne Rambaran, KGI assistant professor of clinical sciences.
“She’s a strategic, tactical, and operational individual who cares for and is connected to the people she works with.”
Nguyen earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from UC Riverside in 2012 and later relocated to Northern California to be a pharmacy technician at Washington Hospital Healthcare System and then the Regional Medical Center of San Jose.
“It’s been a great work experience at the medical center,” Nguyen says. “I was an in-patient pharmacy technician for four years before I started pharmacy school at KGI. I love working, I love being busy. Switching from full-time work to full-time school was a big transition, so I’ve enjoyed getting back into work and I’m learning a lot from the other pharmacists and technicians.”
In 2016, Nguyen discovered KGI through a conversation with a friend. “What stood out to me was the flipped classroom approach. I like to study on my own beforehand, that way I’m prepared with questions and can become more engaged,” said Nguyen.
Now that she has entered into the upper-level courses in the PharmD program, some of Nguyen’s favorites are: Principles of Pharmacotherapy & Fluids, Electrolytes and Nephrology taught by Christine Cadiz, Cardiology taught by Rebecca Tran, and Critical Care taught by Rambaran.
Along with PharmD colleague Ilona Kravtsova, Nguyen helped the KGI Rare Disease Club earn the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) Student Chapter designation in 2017.
“The KGI student population is very diverse,” Nguyen said, “and we appreciate the opportunities to work together toward the same passion, whether that’s through health fairs, meetings, or creating new clubs and organizations.”
The annual Come and Meet Pharmacy Days (PharmCAMP) also presents opportunities for Nguyen and her classmates to connect with the local community.
“PharmCAMP is a wonderful event that Dr. Cadiz and PharmD alumna Kim Nguyen started a few years ago,” Nguyen said. “We are able to meet middle school and high school students from underserved communities and introduce them to the wide range of healthcare careers that are available. As part of our Rare Disease Club, we created a strawberry DNA extraction experiment for the students to enjoy and learn from.”
During this 2018-19 academic year, Nguyen serves as the president of the Rare Disease Club, the co-founder and president of KGI’s Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) Chapter, and the Inland Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists (ISHP) Student Liaison.
“Through high school and undergrad, I have always been involved in the community,” Nguyen said. “It felt natural to join a lot of student organizations here at KGI because I love giving back to the community and making a bigger impact.”
This week, Nguyen was featured on the KGI Podcast: