Leah Cashman: Class of 2021

leah cashmanAlways asking “why” and “how,” a lifelong learner, and down to earth. That’s how Leah Cashman describes herself. A native of Eagan, Minn., Cashman is pursuing a PharmD/MBA dual degree on the Duluth campus.

Cashman is curious and always seeking ways to improve herself and the world around her. She’s always been fond of animals, and growing up she wanted to be a veterinarian. She attended Colorado State University, where she earned a bachelor of science degree with a major in equine science and a minor in business. Her career interest didn’t change until her senior year of undergrad when she was working as an equine vet tech in Lexington, Ky.

"I was blown away about how cool the pharmacy profession is"

“I was making up IV bags and administrating TPNs when I became curious of how TPNs work, which sent me on a quest for answers at the on-site compounding pharmacy,” Cashman said. “I was blown away about how cool the pharmacy profession is; it is way more than working at a retail pharmacy. The applications of it are endless, and it is a field that enriches those who are lifelong learners as there is always something new to learn.”

Her interest in pharmacy was also piqued by the fact that she wouldn’t have to give up her passion of working with animals.

Cashman decided to attend the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy because after being out of state for her undergraduate degree, she said in-state tuition was a “serious plus.” She also received good reviews of the program.

“A large part of my decision to attend the U’s College of Pharmacy was due to the many graduates that I spoke to when I was doing research on pharmacy,” Cashman said. “They spoke so highly of the program and the innovation that it was bringing to the field of pharmacy.”

Her current dual degree program led Cashman to a unique internship opportunity with a ProPharma group in pharmacovigilance, or drug safety monitoring.

“At the Pharmacy Alumni Society’s Bulldog Hockey Pre-Game Reception, I asked several people how business fits into pharmacy, which led me to informational interviews and then, later, to an internship in pharmacovigilance,” Cashman said. “It was a great experience as pharmacovigilance is only briefly mentioned in pharmacy school.”

During her internship, Cashman worked on a variety of special projects that allowed her to interact with various departments, which helped her deepen her understanding on what it is and how it operates.  

“It is a very interdisciplinary field as it not only had nurses, pharmacy technicians, pharmacists, doctors, but also veterinarians and vet technicians too” 

As she was the first intern ProPharma had in this role, Cashman played a large part in building the internship program for future students. It’s also a new fourth year Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience site for the college.  

Though she is uncertain what her career journey will be after graduation, she will stay true to her self-definition of a lifelong learner and pursue a wilderness emergency medical technician certification, which she plans to use to accomplish her goal of summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro one day.   

Story by Owen Mageau