Meet Claire Steinbronn, a 2018 grad from Drake's Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program. Claire decided that she wanted to pursue a Ph.D. and began attending the University of Washington School of Pharmacy after graduating from Drake.
Drake did a great job providing me with baseline clinical knowledge that I’ve been able to use to be a successful graduate student. Through my pharmacy education, I was able to gain a unique set of clinical skills that have set me apart in my training in graduate school.
I originally had my eyes set on a residency where I was thinking of specializing in something related to psychiatric or neurologic conditions, but as I worked on various research projects in Dr. Mahajan and Dr. Sacco’s labs, I realized I was more interested in learning more about research-related roles. I started to meet with other people who had pursued a Ph.D. after pharmacy school and ultimately, that was the path that I ended up choosing.
The field of pharmacy is extremely diverse - even though people tend to only associate pharmacist-type jobs with those at retail or hospital positions. I have a lot of friends who have sought out “non-traditional” roles at pharmaceutical companies, joined consulting firms, and pursued higher education in areas like pharmaceutical sciences, pharmacoeconomics, and legislation. A PharmD is extremely flexible and you aren’t limited to one area of practice your entire career.
Looking back on pharmacy school, it was great to be a part of the close-knit community that Drake provides. I was able to build connections and relationships with my peers and professors that still exist today. I also felt as though I was able to take advantage of opportunities, like working on multiple research projects, that wouldn’t have been as accessible at larger universities.
I was involved with APhA where I served on the executive committee as the IMP3 chair. Through this position, I was able to hold a lecture and discussion series with my friend Haley Countey (also a 2018 PharmD grad) and Dr. Sarah Grady that spoke to the issues on the lack of education we received on opioid use disorder and how we can be better prepared to help this patient population. I also worked on pharmacogenomic projects in Dr. Mahajan’s lab in addition to investigating the significance of the TRNP-1 gene in canid species with Dr. Sacco. Through all of these opportunities, I was able to attend multiple conferences to present my work in addition to building my network.
I have two that are tied for first: my neurology rotation at the Mayo Clinic and when I worked at a clinic in Punta Gorda, Belize. The Mayo Clinic was a fantastic place to learn and I had access to the top doctors in the country. Belize helped to diversify my thinking and communication skills and allowed me to explore a totally different culture.
Keep an open mind and take all of the opportunities that you’re given. Pharmacy can lead you in many directions, but it’s extremely important to keep positive relationships with classmates and instructors as the world of pharmacy is a very small one.