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Saturday, January 14, 2012

In Their Own Words: Gloria

(Editor's note: This is the third of a multi-part series I'm titling "In Their Own Words". I'll start by highlighting student committee members and then perhaps introduce you to faculty members as time and space allows. In addition to getting to know a little about them, this will also give you insight into the admissions process. Hopefully, this will also allow you to put real faces/names behind what is often characterized as a mysterious and secret process. Students play a huge role in our annual admissions cycle, serving as full-fledged members of our committee. Students serve a two-year term during their 3rd and 4th years of the program. Many of the same qualities that got them into pharmacy school -- leadership, commitment, maturity, etc. -- are what landed them a spot on the admissions committee. To me, Gloria epitomizes the word kind. I honestly think she's one of the nicest individuals I have ever met. Authentic. Genuine. What she brings to the Admissions Committee is just a real passion for UCSF, the pharmacy profession, and a caring heart.)

Name: Gloria
Year: Class of 2012
Hometown: Diamond Bar, CA
Previous institutions attended: University of California, Los Angeles (GO BRUINS!) (Bachelor of Science)
Undergraduate Major: psychobiology

Why did you apply to be a member of the Admissions Committee and what have you enjoyed the most?
Curiosity played a big part in my decision to apply. I've always been intrigued by the admissions process and enjoyed interacting with prospective students through Pharmacy Information Days, interview chatroom sessions and mentorship programs such as PhAMLI. The admissions process seemed like a magical and mysterious process, so naturally, I wanted to learn all of the "secrets" behind it! Now that I've been on the committee for a year as a student member, I can happily say that the admissions process is one of the most open and collaborative processes I've seen in pharmacy school. The most enjoyable part for me has been reading the essays and stories of each applicant file I review. I truly enjoy getting to know each applicant through the various pieces of the application and love it when I come across essays written with passion, emotion and depth.

In your opinion, what are the most common mistakes applicants make?
Being too nervous during the interview! Your personality won't be able to shine through if you are too nervous.

What stands out to you on an application?
Enthusiasm for the profession and the potential to innovate and influence change in the field of pharmacy.

What are your pet peeve(s) when interviewing an applicant or reviewing a file? (What drives you crazy?)
I am always peeved when applicants throw around pharmacy buzz words that they don't really know the meaning of -- both when interviewing and on the application. Common examples: medication therapy management, pharmacogenomics, cost-effectiveness of medications, translational science, clinical pharmacy... the list goes on. There are definitely a lot of applicants that can speak knowledgeably about these topics and I definitely encourage sharing your understanding of the profession but don't use words that you don't really know the meaning of! If you get asked about a topic you are not familiar with, be honest about it, don't try to make something up.

What characteristics are necessary in order to succeed in UCSF’s PharmD program?
I believe that the necessary characteristics are different for each person. For me, I would say confidence, perseverance, humility and balance. I had to really build up confidence to step into various leadership roles and purposely put myself in situations where I knew I would be challenged and therefore grow. Without perseverance, I could not have made it through those extremely busy days. Humility is so important in recognizing that learning will be a continuous life-long process. Lastly, balance. UCSF offers so many wonderful opportunities to get involved so balance is key. Of course this is all still a work in progress...

What tools or resources would you recommend to prospective applicants?
Use tools and resources that will help you understand the profession of pharmacy on a personal level. Get in touch with people who are currently in pharmacy school. Shadow a pharmacist you know. Visit UCSF or take a tour. Join a pre-pharmacy society if your school has one. Get first hand experience if you can afford to work or volunteer. Attend a pharmacy planned health fair or pharmacy information day. Reading this blog is definitely a start!

What single piece of advice would you give to a prospective applicant?
Find a school that is a good fit for YOU. I love UCSF and I think the pharmacy program here is excellent but it may not be the perfect program for every person out there who want a PharmD. Don't spend so much time thinking about the "correct" responses for essay questions and don't forget that the application process is a two way street. As much as we are evaluating you, you are also evaluating us.

Why do you think you were admitted into UCSF’s PharmD program?
Pharmacy was like a puzzle I had to piece together. I worked as a clerk at a pharmacy and also volunteered in a hospital pharmacy for about a year. For a summer, I worked in as a research assistant for an investigator at UCLA doing a trial testing the efficacy of an anti-inflammatory medication for the prevention of lung cancer. As I pieced all of these experiences together, I was able to gain a strong understanding of the profession and articulate why I was interested in pursuing a career in pharmacy. My interest in outreach and teaching, as well as my goal of one day utilizing my clinical knowledge to serve under-served populations, aligned well with the mission of UCSF.

What do you do for fun?
I love to eat and run -- preferably not one after the other! San Francisco has trained my taste buds to love food carts, hole-in-the-wall restaurants and of course, really good restaurants! I am an avid reader and contributor on Yelp due to my passion for food! Thankfully, I also try to stay active through hiking and running.

To read previous "In Their Own Words" postings, visit:

Meet more students in our PharmD program by visiting our
Student Profiles page!

1 comment:

badwolfandy said...

It's nice to hear from a fellow Bruin =)

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