I chose VCU for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, VCU is one of few academic medical centers in the country. The medical field is a rapidly changing and developing area. I wanted to be a part of a campus that was going to improve with those changes and for me, an academic medical center is the only place that can keep up with the changing tides. Secondly, when I came to visit VCU School of Pharmacy, I was greeted with a warm welcome and I instantly felt like it was a good fit. After speaking to faculty and students, I was encouraged by the sense of community, motivation, and happiness that everyone radiated. Lastly, I am from Virginia and being close to home was an important consideration when choosing a rigorous program.
Last summer I had the opportunity to serve as a teaching assistant for VCU's Summer Academic Enrichment Program (SAEP). I worked with the School of Medicine and Department of Physical Therapy to organize and facilitate an interprofessional health clinic that served the homeless population in Richmond. I had the privilege of teaching SAEP students how to conduct interviews and perform blood pressure and blood glucose checks on our patients. Being a mentor to pre-health students was challenging and rewarding. Once the program concluded, I really began to consider academia as a potential career.
The opportunities for students are endless on a campus of this magnitude. One organization, the student chapter of the Virginia Society of Health-System Pharmacists (SVSHP) offers shadowing opportunities to its members. Last year there were over 300 opportunities to shadow a pharmacist in various fields ranging from oncology clinics and neonatal units to anticoagulation clinics and pharmacy management. Being able to experience different areas of pharmacy practice has broadened my appreciation for pharmacy and has helped mold my future aspirations.
Right now I am completing the Veterans Affairs Learning Opportunity Residency (VALOR) program at the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in West Virginia and I love it! Serving and honoring the men and women who selflessly served our country has always been extremely important to me. I can't think of a better way to help our heroes than to work for either the Department of Veterans Affairs or Department of Defense. I'm excited to see where my future goes. Right now, I am confident that I want to complete a PGY1 residency. The rest of the details and specifics will fall into place as I complete my P4 year.