Members of FDU’s inaugural School of Pharmacy class reflect back

By Kenna Caprio

It’s a huge moment for Fairleigh Dickinson University, for the School of Pharmacy and for 69 students in particular — at Commencement 2016, the first class of pharmacy students will graduate. But before graduation, four of these pharmacy students trace their academic, social and professional experiences over the course of four years. Adriana Barroqueiro, Paul Osei-Bosompem, Gayle Unhjem and Manish Goswami spoke up once before, just as they started their pharmacy education, in the February 2013 issue of FDU Magazine. Now, it’s time to check in and see how far they’ve come!

Adriana Barroqueiro white coat 1Adriana Barroqueiro
Union, N.J.
PharmD and Master’s of Health Science
(regulatory science)

FDU: How does it feel to be a member of FDU's inaugural class of pharmacy graduates?

AB: It is an honor to be part of the inaugural class. I believe that our class has established a good reputation with faculty and preceptors (instructors), and I hope that this will allow future students to have outstanding learning experiences.

FDU: What were your expectations coming into the pharmacy program?

AB: Coming into FDU’s School of Pharmacy, I expected to obtain a great pharmacy education. The school has not only given us a thorough base of knowledge, but also has taught us to apply the five core tenets — think, communicate, advocate, lead and implement — to our roles as future pharmacists.

FDU: If you could go back to your first day of pharmacy school, what would you tell yourself?

AB: If I could go back to my first day of pharmacy school, I would tell myself to stay confident. I sometimes felt scared that I could not retain all the information that I was learning, but I realize now that pharmacy is not something you learn in a year, two years, or five years. In fact, it is a continuously growing field and our education is never officially done. Experience allows you to apply what you are learning to real situations and confidence comes with knowing you are helping patients.

FDU: In what ways have you grown and changed during pharmacy school?

AB: As I mentioned previously, I think the biggest change I see in myself is confidence. After completing four years of pharmacy school, I feel prepared to provide great patient care. I sincerely enjoy counseling patients and am not embarrassed to look up information I am not sure about.

FDU: How did FDU prepare you for a career in pharmacy?

AB: The FDU faculty and preceptors have provided a great learning experience for us. We have not only learned about medication, but also how to think critically as professionals. We have also learned the importance of advocating for our profession, as it is a fast-growing one.

FDU: How did attending pharmacy school shape your career interests? Did they change over the course of study?

AB: The rotation experiences gave me an opportunity to determine what I do and don't like. And while my career preferences have changed over the course of study, I still have not limited myself to one area. There are so many roles that a pharmacist may take on and that is one of the things that makes this field so amazing.

FDU: Which aspect of pharmacy school made the biggest impact on you?

AB: The pharmacy rotation experiences were a great opportunity to get out into the real world and see what pharmacy is like outside of the classroom. Not only is it a great learning experience, but it also helps students figure out what type of work they may be interested in doing in the future.

FDU: What advice do you have for future FDU pharmacy students?

AB: I would tell future FDU pharmacy students that although it is not an easy journey, it will be over before they know it. I recommend finding a pharmacy technician job — that experience will help throughout pharmacy school. In addition, I recommend doing one of the dual master’s degrees, as this can open many doors.

FDU: What are your post-grad plans?

AB: I received a fulltime staff pharmacist offer from Walgreens, and will be starting as soon as I complete the board exams!


Paul Osei-Bosompem white coatPaul Osei-Bosompem
Middletown, N.Y.
PharmD and
MA in industrial/organizational psychology

FDU: How does it feel to be a member of FDU's inaugural class of pharmacy graduates?

POB: I feel very proud to be a part of FDU’s inaugural pharmacy class. Not many people get the chance to be a part of one, so it’s an honor for me.

FDU: What were your expectations coming into the pharmacy program?

POB: Prior to starting pharmacy school, I believed that all of my time would be focused on studying for exams (and most of the time it was) but I soon found myself dedicating time to assignments, presentations, group projects and extracurricular activities. All of my experiences during pharmacy school have made me a well-rounded candidate for the pharmacy field.

FDU: If you could go back to your first day of pharmacy school, what would you tell yourself?

POB: I would tell myself that time goes by fast, so cherish the moments you have with friends while in pharmacy school. Enjoy the journey of becoming a pharmacist because you will not fail.

FDU: In what ways have you grown and changed during pharmacy school?

POB: Pharmacy school tested my mental limits as a student through rigorous coursework; through my experiences, I have gained deeper insight into my strengths and weaknesses. Before I became a pharmacy student, I had very limited experience in group projects and working with other students. Through the curriculum, I have had ample experience in collaborative work with students and healthcare professionals. My exposure to teamwork has made it comfortable for me to work with others, regardless of the practice setting.

FDU: How did FDU prepare you for a career in pharmacy?

POB: FDU prepared me for a career in pharmacy by fostering an environment of collaboration and learning. The “Patient-centered Medical Home” concept was taught early in the pharmacy curriculum. The goal of the PCMH model is for health care professionals to work collectively to ensure the best care for patients. During pharmacy school, we had an opportunity to work with students in the clinical mental health-counseling program on simulated patient cases. Combining the medication expertise of a pharmacist with the counseling abilities of a psychologist is an example of the collaborative practices that will lead the future of health care.

FDU: How did attending pharmacy school shape your career interests? Did they change over the course of study?

POB: I was fortunate to obtain a MA in industrial/organizational psychology through the dual-degree options offered at the pharmacy school. My career interests have been shaped by my pursuit of a dual degree — as I now seek to be employed by an organization with an opportunity for growth and promotion. I want to be able to utilize both my clinical knowledge as a pharmacist and my passion for organizational development and psychology.

FDU: Which aspect of pharmacy school made the biggest impact on you?

POB: The people who I encountered in my pursuit of a pharmacy degree have had the biggest impact on me. My classmates, professors, faculty members, preceptors, and patients have influenced me to become the best pharmacist I can be.

FDU: What advice do you have for future FDU pharmacy students?

POB: My advice to future FDU pharmacy students is to trust in your ability to learn. You will be introduced to a considerable amount of new information while in school, which may seem overwhelming at times, but as long you remain confident in your ability to learn and improve, you are guaranteed to succeed!

FDU: What are your post-grad plans?

POB: My immediate plans after graduation are to pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) and to continue my job search.


Gayle Unhjem white coatGayle Unhjem
Goshen, N.Y.
PharmD

FDU: How does it feel to be a member of FDU's inaugural class of pharmacy graduates?

GU: It feels amazing, impossible and totally surreal! Four years have gone by in the blink of an eye.

FDU: What were your expectations coming into the pharmacy program?

GU: I expected it to be a challenge, not only for my classmates and I as new pharmacy students, but for the faculty and staff as well, creating a new school of pharmacy.

FDU: If you could go back to your first day of pharmacy school, what would you tell yourself?

GU: Relax, and try to enjoy the ride. The material is nowhere near as intimidating as you think it is, and someday it will even make sense to you.

FDU: In what ways have you grown and changed during pharmacy school?

GU: I feel like I've definitely matured. Interacting with patients and health care professionals, you feel the trust they put in you. It's a lot of responsibility.

FDU: How did FDU prepare you for a career in pharmacy?

GU: FDU has really tried to make us aware of the different roles that pharmacists can take on. There are more choices than simply hospital, retail, or industry, and we were exposed to some possibilities through the dual-degree tracks offered and diverse Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs). We've also had panels of practitioners come to speak to us about what they do every day and how they got there.

FDU: How did attending pharmacy school shape your career interests?

GU: Although I've always been interested in pharmacy, until pharmacy school I never put much thought into WHERE I wanted to practice. But between classes, professors, preceptors, and rotations, I have a much clearer view of where I want to go from here. At least for now! That's the beauty of a pharmacy degree; there really is so much you can do and so many places you can go.

FDU: Did they change over the course of study?

GU: Yes and no. I have always been interested in oncology, and becoming an oncology specialist is still my end goal. But I did discover some new interests along the way, such as data analytics and journal club.

FDU: Which aspect of pharmacy school made the biggest impact on you?

GU: My APPEs definitely had the biggest impact on me. Not only did they help me narrow down what I like and what I don't like, but they also introduced me to new experiences that I would not have known about otherwise.

FDU: What advice do you have for future FDU pharmacy students?

GU: Definitely get involved in something you enjoy and are passionate about. It could be an organization, volunteering or research. There is more to life than just work and there is more to school than just studying.

FDU: What are your post-grad plans?

GU: Right now I'm planning to work in the Washington, D.C. metro area, and eventually I hope to go back and complete two years of residency.


Manish Goswami white coatManish Goswami
India
PharmD and MS in pharmaceutical chemistry

FDU: How does it feel to be a member of FDU's inaugural class of pharmacy graduates?

MG: It feels really great! We will be always recognized as the first class of FDU’s pharmacy school.

FDU: What were your expectations coming into the pharmacy program?

MG: Honestly, I did not come with any expectations for school. But, I had some expectations from myself, which I think I have achieved.

FDU: If you could go back to your first day of pharmacy school, what would you tell yourself?

MG: Enjoy every single day because this will be the memory of a lifetime.

FDU: In what ways have you grown and changed during pharmacy school?

MG: Clinical rotations in different hospitals and pharmacies changed me personally and professionally. I have learned from my clinical rotation to respect other health care professionals, be humble to patients, listen to patient concerns and always make the patient your top priority. I have learned the importance of an interprofessional health care team in determining a patient’s health outcome. Pharmacists have a vital role on health care team, and other health care personnel appreciate our drug knowledge.

FDU: How did FDU prepare you for a career in pharmacy?

MG: FDU’s School of Pharmacy uses the RXPRECEPTOR web service, which has all kinds of pharmacy job postings to help students, including part-time and fulltime job listings.

FDU: How did attending pharmacy school shape your career interests? Did they change over the course of study?

MG: Pharmacy school did not change my career interests, but I have learned that pharmacist’s job is not limited to counting pills. Pharmacists can work in academia, pharmaceutical industry, at the FDA, in hospitals and even at NASA!

FDU: Which aspect of pharmacy school made the biggest impact on you?

MG: Pharmacy school taught us five core principles: think, advocate, lead, implement and communicate. These principles will help me to be a great pharmacist in future.

FDU: What advice do you have for future FDU pharmacy students?

MG: Enjoy your studies. Do NOT study just to pass the exams. Always keep your options open, because the landscape of pharmacy practice is very vast.

FDU: What are your post-grad plans?

MG: I will be serving as a community pharmacist and helping patients with their health care needs. I am also planning to do health awareness days for the community, with help from the American Diabetic Association and American Heart Association.