Meet our Students

Read profiles of students and recent graduates to find out what it's like to be a PharmD student at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. Their profiles highlight unique leadership and educational opportunities, as well as their commitment to improving their communities.

Laruen Ostlund: Class of 2021

Lauren Ostlund

Deborah A. Kasper Memorial Award Recipient

"I am extremely honored to have received the Deborah A. Kasper Memorial Award, which is given to someone who contributes most to everyday esprit de corps. I have the award hanging above my desk as a reminder of the importance of leadership by showing we are all working together to achieve our goals. It is also a reminder to make sure that I share my appreciation of others - a simple act of appreciation may end up being someone’s proudest accomplishment."


Cassandra Saunders: Class of 2021

Cassandra SaundersA passion for understanding global pharmacy

As a self-described problem solver with a desire to learn new things daily, Cassandra Saunders says her love of  talking to people and interest in how medications interact with and affect the body led her to pursue a career in pharmacy.

Elizabeth Nguyen: Class of 2021

Elizabeth NguyenBridging the Cultural Gap Between Health Care Professionals and Patients

As a pharmacy student, Elizabeth Nguyen's goal is to bridge the cultural gap between health care professionals and patients. She was drawn to the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy because of its involvement with the International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation (IPSF) and World Health Organization.

Cameron Wing: Class of 2021

Cameron Wing

“I’ve always been drawn to Minnesota”

Having spent the majority of his childhood in nearby Hudson, Wisc., Cameron Wing was always drawn to Minnesota and the Twin Cities metropolitan area. He attended the University of Minnesota where he earned a degree in biochemistry along with a minor in public health before attending the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy.

Leah Cashman: Class of 2021

leah cashman

A Lifelong Learner

Leah Cashman describes herself as always asking “why” and “how,” and a lifelong learner.  Her senior year of undergrad she was working as an equine vet tech and became curious of how TPNs work, which sent her on a quest for answers at the on-site compounding pharmacy. She was blown away with the pharmacy profession.

Ann Nagle: Class of 2020

Ann Nagle

You’re Never Too Old To Start

Ann Nagle spent 10 years working in drug chemistry and toxicology in forensics, testing suspected controlled substances in a lab to identify their contents. She was frustrated to see pharmaceuticals be one of the top three controlled substances abused in her laboratories. Nagle’s desire to help people struggling with addiction is what sparked her interest in pharmacy.

Atuobi Nana Yiadom: Class of 2020

Atuobi Yiadom

First In Pharmacokinetics Graduate Training Program

Atuobi Nana Yiadom is the first pharmacy student to participate in Mayo Clinic’s summer graduate training program in pharmacokinetics. He took Pharmacology and Pharmacokinetics courses at the college and discovered that he really enjoyed precision medicine and the ability to tailor a patient’s treatment.

Brittney Mikell: Class of 2020

Brittney MikellDetermined to Change the World

Brittney Mikell spent three years in Boston working in research at a hospital where she worked on developing a mobile application that enables direct patient feedback to care staff.  Brittney said the application was particularly relevant because the hospital’s nurses were on the brink of strike and the hospital had been looking for ways to meet nurse demands.

Kelly Potz: Class of 2020

Kelly PotzCombining Her Love for Science and Healthcare

Kelly Potz is the current president of the Minnesota Pharmacy Student Alliance (MPSA), which brings together student pharmacists from both campuses with a central purpose to promote their growth into excellent pharmacists at the top of their respective fields. 

Mahli Von Arx: Class of 2020

Molly Von ArxFrom Patient to Pharmacist

Mahli Von Arx was diagnosed with a chronic disease that requires her to be on medication indefinitely.  The care she received as a pharmacy patient gave her the desire to care for patients in the same way.

Mélanie Mahoney: Class of 2020

Mélanie Mahoney

Learning Lessons Overseas

Mélanie Mahoney attended the 78th FIP World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Glasgow, Scotland. The intention of the congress is to bring pharmacists from all over the globe to discuss ways to enhance the role of pharmacists, in order to ensure patients and health systems receive the full benefits from the medicines they use.

Rowan Mahon: Class of 2020

Rowan MahonPassion for Pharmacy, Public Health and Advocacy

Rowan Mahon realized that it would be illegal for long-term care facilities in Minnesota to donate medications in the way that 20 other states with repositories are currently doing, and that in order to start a medication repository program in Minnesota, the law had to be changed. Mahon’s passion led her to found the Public Health Advocacy Student Alliance at the college.


Steven Just: Class of 2020

Steven JustSupport American Indians In Science And Engineering

Steven Just has passion for working to increase the number of American Indians in higher education, STEM fields, and health-related professions. Just is a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe and Chapter President of the University of Minnesota, Duluth AISES.

Thu Ha Nguyen: Class Of 2020

Thu ha NguyenCommitted to Interprofessional Teamwork

Thu Ha Nguyen represented the University of Minnesota at the National CLARION Interprofessional Healthcare Case Competition. Participating in the CLARION Case Competition led Nguyen to one main takeaway: every profession is unique.

Victoria Smith: Class of 2020

victoria smithGet Involved

“Stay curious, get involved, and don’t be afraid to stray outside your profession.” That’s the advice Victoria Smith, a third-year student on the Twin Cities campus, has for anyone interested in pharmacy.  Growing up near the Mayo Clinic helped her establish a strong interest in health care.

Grace Baek: Class of 2019

Grace Baek

Advocating For The Profession

As MPSA president on the Twin Cities campus, Grace Baek saw how MPhA invests in student development: presentations at MPSA general meetings, scholarships and organization-level support,participation in advocacy through Legislative Day and the Leadership Summit/House of Delegates, and networking at the Annual Learning Networking Event and at national conferences.

Malia Hain: Class Of 2019

Malia HainThankful for the Lifelong Friends She Met in Pharmacy School

From the moment Hain stepped on the University of Minnesota campus during her interview day, she felt as if she belonged at the College of Pharmacy.

Abdi Bile: Class of 2018

Abdi Bile

Serving Medically Underserved Communities

Abdi Bile's reason for getting up every morning is his motivation to help and serve Minnesota’s underserved communities and people of color. When he was starting pharmacy school, polio was making a comeback in Somalia, and just as he was entering his final year in pharmacy school, we had the largest measles epidemic in over a decade right here in the Twin Cities.

Axel Vazquez-Deida: Class of 2018

Axel Vasquez-Deida

Better Quality Of Life

Axel Vazquez-Deida received the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Excellence in Public Health Pharmacy Award for his work and leadership in addressing issues such as access to health services, adolescent health, immunization and infectious disease prevention, social determinants of health, tobacco use, substance abuse, and nutrition and weight status.  

Peter Balogun: Class of 2018

Peter BalogunBig Picture Approach

Peter Balogun quickly learned that managed care was at the center of all the different sectors of pharmacy,understanding the different perspectives of the key players in the healthcare system and having a more holistic approach to the problems our healthcare system faces.

Vu Ha: Class of 2018

Vu HaInitiative For Underserved Communities

Vu Ha began the volunteer initiative Socks n’ Sandwiches after developing a strong passion for community work and volunteering in underserved communities at the College of Pharmacy. On the fourth Thursday of each month, Ha and other volunteers make 60 sandwiches and deliver them to local homeless shelters around the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area.

Emily Schuster: Class of 2017

Emily Schuster

Focused On Wellbeing

Emily Schuster focuses her research on improving the wellbeing of herself and others.  She was the first student to introduce and implement a wellbeing breakout session at the Benefits Fair and has created tips for how students can boost their happiness levels.  She believes that there’s nothing better than boosting others’ moods and talking about happiness.