A job in high school gave Alexandria the inspiration to find her true calling in pharmacy.
What made you want to become a pharmacist?
When I was 14 years old, I got a job at a local independent pharmacy in my hometown called Slater's Pharmacy. I just got the job so that I can make money to hang out with my friends there.
When I went to college my freshman year, I actually didn't major in pharmacy. I was a chemistry major but when I came back for Christmas break, the full-time cashier there actually broke his hip, so they needed someone to work to replace him. So since I had nothing to do, I decided that I would work there and at the time, my advisor actually suggested that maybe I switch my major to pharmacy since he wasn't sure why I was doing forensics and chemistry. So I was a little bit conflicted at the time and when I was back there working 40 hours, I remembered how happy I was and how much I loved being there.
So, I ended up switching my major and coming back to pharmacy. The real reason I did pharmacy was because of the job I got at 14 years old at a little independent pharmacy!
Do you have an area of emphasis in pharmacy?
I do. I'm actually completing my area of emphasis in global health. I like to travel so I wanted to incorporate that into my studies as well.
Tell us about your travel. Where have you been? Like what kind of things have you done?
So I just got back from a rotation in Oman, in the Middle East. So I spent four weeks there as part of my pharmacy studies. I did six weeks in Rwanda as part of a student exchange program that I did apply through West Virginia University but it didn't count as part of my degree program.
In Rwanda, I did three weeks volunteering at a community pharmacy and two weeks volunteering at a hospital pharmacy so that was a little bit different.
I've traveled for a week to Uganda and then I've done just some travel around the (United States) and Mexico.
Do you feel like that has enriched you as a pharmacist? Is that experience going to benefit you?
Definitely. I think, especially after I came back from Rwanda, which is part of the reason I applied to go to Oman, I think that traveling there made me a better pharmacist and made a big part of what I've become.
I learned a lot of different things going to Rwanda that helped create a more well rounded person in me.
Would you recommend other student pharmacists travel?
One hundred percent. I did a presentation right after I got back from Rwanda, and recommended a lot of the underclassman to apply to the experience I did, and I believe three underclassman actually went and did the same experience in different countries. So we had someone go to Prague, and then I think two other students went to different countries. So we definitely have a lot more kids in our pharmacy school going doing that now, which is awesome.