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.

Rowan MahonCombining a Passion for Pharmacy, Public Health and Advocacy

During Rowan Mahon's second year at the college, she 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—an organization dedicated to public health, advocacy and the power of the legislative process.


Abdi Bile

Serving Patients In Medically Underserved Communities

What continues to serve as Abdi Bile's reason for getting up every morning is my 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.

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.

Steven Just

Elected To National Position To Support American Indians In Science And Engineering

Early in Steven Just's undergraduate career, he discovered his 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.

Atuobi Yiadom

First Pharmacy Student To Participate In Graduate Training Program In Pharmacokinetics

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

Grace Baek

Passionate About Advocating For The Profession

As the MPSA president on the Twin Cities campus, Grace Baek has seen firsthand how MPhA invests in student development: presentations at MPSA general meetings ranging from introducing the association to discussing the legislative agenda, student scholarships and organization-level support, student 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.

Vu Ha

Began Volunteer Initiative To Help 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.

Axel Vasquez-Deida

Helping Communities Achieve A 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

Drawn To The Big Picture Approach Of Managed Care Pharmacy

During his first year of pharmacy school, Peter Balogun quickly learned that managed care was at the center of all the different sectors of pharmacy. So, if I could understand it, I would understand the different perspectives of the key players in the healthcare system and therefore have a more holistic approach to the problems our healthcare system faces.

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. Mahoney was able to attend a variety of sessions on topics ranging from policy and advocacy to pharmacogenomics and medicine assisted death and brought many valuable takeaways home with her.

Kelly PotzPharmacy Perfectly Combines Her Love for Science and Healthcare

Kelly Potz, a third year  student and president of the Minnesota Pharmacy Student Alliance (MPSA). MPSA 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. An active MPSA member since her first year, Potz is proud to serve as its president this year. 

Brittney MikellDetermined to Change the World

After earning her undergrad degree and before starting pharmacy school, Brittney spent three years in Boston working in research at a hospital. During that time, she participated in multiple hackathons, which are events in which a variety of people come together to formulate solutions in their communities. Her group worked on developing a mobile application that enables direct patient feedback to care staff. It was aimed at boosting morale and job satisfaction, primarily among the nurses at the hospital she worked at. 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.


Molly Von ArxFrom Patient to Pharmacist

As a third-year pharmacy student, Mahli didn't always know that she wanted to be a pharmacist. After graduating from her undergradate career, Mahli was working and trying to figure out what direction to head for a career. She was diagnosed with a chronic disease that dramatically altered her life and requires her to be on medication indefinitely. Her new diagnosis made her want to learn more about medications and how they work, but even more than that, the care she received as a pharmacy patient gave her the desire to care for patients in the same way. Mahli wanted to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to provide the same quality of care she received, and to empower and encourage patients to take responsibility for their health and their future.

Student Stories

Mahon and Van Ochten

The Public Health Advocacy Student Alliance (PHASA) is an interprofessional student group at the University of Minnesota that aims to inform and empower health professional students about public policy legislation that affects their patients and their careers. The group includes students from pharmacy, physical therapy, nursing, and medicine, as well as a few undergraduate students.


A group of students from the College of Pharmacy spent two weeks in Chengdu, China this past summer. They were participating in the University Immersion Program at the West China School of Pharmacy at Sichuan University. The two-part experience included an academic week in which the students attended lectures at the West China School of Pharmacy at Sichuan University. The following week, the students gained real-life experience and learned about health care in China by participating in internships at the local hospitals in Chengdu.


The annual award recognizes the chapter's quality, innovative managed care programming for students.

Students talking

Students on rotation with Dr. Fierke have been hosting Fireside Chats for younger students.

Prosperity Eneh

Eneh is part of a small group participating in the Uganda Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience.