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.
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.
What continues to serve as 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.
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.
Early in Steven Just's undergraduate program, 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 Nana Yiadom is the first pharmacy student to participate in Mayo Clinic’s summer graduate training program in pharmacokinetics. When he took the Pharmacology and Pharmacokinetics course at the college, he discovered that he really enjoyed precision medicine and the ability to tailor a patient’s treatment with specific medications.
While she was MPSA president on the Twin Cities campus, Grace Baek saw 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 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 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.
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 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 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.
After earning her undergrad degree and before starting pharmacy school, Brittney Mikell 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.
As a third-year pharmacy student, Mahli Von Arx didn't always know that she wanted to be a pharmacist. After graduating from her undergradate program, 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.
The daughter of a nurse practitioner, Nagle developed a strong interest in the health care field after seeing the effect her mother had on her patients’ lives. But, in high school she became interested in a different career path. During her undergraduate education, Nagle studied chemistry and made connections that helped her find work in the forensics field. After graduation, she spent the next 10 years working in drug chemistry and toxicology. During her time working in forensics, Nagle would test suspected controlled substances in a lab to identify their contents. She would then report her findings and go to court to testify as needed. Throughout her tenure, 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. Even though she had a stable job with a stable income, Nagle decided to take action and change careers by applying to pharmacy school.
Eneh is part of a small group participating in the Uganda Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience.
1st year student Jacob Schally says, “I’ve met some incredible pharmacists and I want to work hard so I can follow in their footsteps.”
This winter, Prosperity Eneh spent five weeks researching the health care partnership between Minnesota and Tanzania while participating in clinical rotation at Ilula Lutheran District Hospital.
The U of M student team came in as second runner-up at the12th annual Good Neighbor Pharmacy NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition
Every day, thousands of patients suffering from blood cancers like leukemia search for a bone marrow donor match. Sadly, six out of 10 patients today do not find a donor who can save their life. A group of students in Duluth are working hard to change that.
The Multicultural Pharmacy Student Organization (MPSO), a pharmacy fraternity on the University of Minnesota Duluth campus, has been conducting bone marrow donor registration drives since 2007 and have helped register more than 1,500 people as potential marrow donors.