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College of Pharmacy

  • Students holding match day signs

College of Pharmacy Students Once Again Shine on Match Day

Many of our Pharm.D. Class of 2021 students are headed for residency following their upcoming graduation. We asked a few of these students to tell us more about their Match Day experiences.


Connor FloydConnor Floyd – PGY1 | St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospital, Savannah, GA

Q: Why did you like that particular program?

A: I have strong interests in critical care, infectious diseases, and cardiology, and Candler has extensive training opportunities in all these areas. Additionally, the program places a strong emphasis on flexibility. They do all they can to ensure the residents are achieving their goals and pursuing their interests. I was able to interview at Candler in person and the supportive, family atmosphere really shined through. They were actively interested in getting to know me and my interests while still showcasing their hospital. 

Q: How did you prepare for interviews for Match Day, especially for the virtual aspect? 

A: Research, research, research. I spent a lot of time going through websites and the information that was available, as well as reviewing notes I had from showcases. I tried to come up with unique questions that related to my interests as well as questions that could help me compare programs. The virtual aspect was a bit strange at first, but the programs did a wonderful job of making it run smoothly. I utilized an audio book titled “100 Strong Residency Interview Questions, Answers, and Rationales for the Residency Match” by Tony Guerra, which was extremely helpful in generating ideas for scenarios and getting in the interview mindset.

Q: How did the UofSC College of Pharmacy prepare you to pursue post-graduate training?

A: The largest help was the pre-residency track with Dr. Bookstaver. He went above and beyond to provide us resources and information for every aspect of residency applications, interviews, ranking programs, and what to do post-match day. The biggest help were the two mock interviews I was able to participate in. The professors gave great feedback and encouragement when moving into interview season.

Tamia Jones

Tamia Jones – PGY1 | Self Regional Healthcare, Greenwood, SC

Q: Why did you like that particular program?

A: My strong interest in this program was based on the diverse training opportunities offered at Self that align with my career goals and interests in the areas of internal medicine, ambulatory care, and hematology/oncology. I wanted to welcome the challenge of having required rotations where I did not have experiences during my P4 year, such as critical care and surgical care. When it came to interview day, though virtual, I got a good feel for the preceptors and current residents and had great discussions with them, to the point where it did not feel like an interview.

Q: How did the UofSC College of Pharmacy prepare you to pursue post-graduate training?

A: Every component of my education at UofSC College of Pharmacy prepared me to pursue post-graduate training. From the didactic years progressing to P4 experiential education with excellent preceptors, I was set up well to succeed. My P4 schedule was composed of 2 ambulatory care rotations and rotations in infectious disease, solid organ transplant, internal medicine, general pediatrics, hematology/oncology, in addition to the required advanced hospital and community pharmacy practice experience. Also, participating in the pre-residency track coordinated by Dr. Bookstaver assisted in the residency application and interview journey.

Q: What advice do you have for students who will go through the Match process next year?

A: Simply, go with your gut when ranking programs. Rank programs based upon where you could see yourself learning and working with the various preceptors and leadership personnel you interact with during your interview day. 

Alex Caballero

Alex Caballero - PGY1 | NYU Langone Health, New York, NY

Q: Why did you like that particular program?

A: I liked this program because I had the opportunity to complete three APPE rotations at this institution and I loved my experience. I felt I would be challenged at NYU as a resident and would have an incredible opportunity to continue learning from exceptional preceptors. Lastly, NYU offers PGY2 positions in both critical care and pediatrics, my two areas of interest for specialties. 

Q: How did you prepare for interviews for Match Day, especially for the virtual aspect?

A: I practiced commonly asked questions and prepared an answer for each one. I compiled my own list from different resources, including the most commonly asked questions that Dr. Bookstaver supplied. I wrote down my biggest interventions I made throughout rotations and practiced my “elevator pitch” to tell them about myself. I participated in the mock interviews provided by the College of Pharmacy, which were a big help. Although things were different this year being virtual, I made sure I was in a quiet location with good Wi-Fi and could easily access the links for the interview.

Q: What did you do to ease the stress and anticipation of Match Day and how did you celebrate?

A: It was a very overwhelming time deciding where to apply, waiting to hear back for interviews, and anticipating the Match Day results. On Match day I was supported by friends and family who were there to help me get through whatever news I was to receive, and I celebrated by going out to dinner with them!

Olivia Alewine Randazza

Olivia Randazza - PGY1 | Wake Forest Baptist Health, Winston-Salem, NC

Q: Why did you like that particular program? 

A: I liked Wake Forest because it is a well-established program that has flexibility in rotation schedules and a variety of PGY2 programs, including two in my interest areas of infectious diseases and critical care. Additionally, I wanted a program in which I could expand my clinical, research and teaching skills. Wake Forest really hit every box on my residency check list, and I felt so welcomed by everyone I met in my interview, even in a virtual environment.

Q: How did you prepare for interviews for Match Day, especially for the virtual aspect? 

A: I researched the program and any interviewers listed on the itinerary to create specific talking points for every program I encountered. I also wrote down answers to common situation-based interview questions and created a personal mission statement to use during interviews. For the virtual aspect, I made sure to be in a well-lit area with a background that was not distracting and to always hardwire into the internet to ensure a strong connection. Additionally, I always checked for meeting software updates the night before and updated my accounts to include a professional picture that would appear on the meeting screen when my camera was turned off.

Q: How did the UofSC College of Pharmacy prepare you to pursue post-graduate training? 

A: The pre-residency track at the UofSC College of Pharmacy was vital in preparing me to pursue residency. Starting my P1 year, this track helped me to understand the residency process and what I would need to do to become a competitive candidate. Each year, SSHP and Rho Chi also host seminars with residency program directors and P4 students who recently matched to give current students a chance to ask questions. The most helpful part of the pre-residency track was the P4 meeting hosted by Dr. Bookstaver. He did an amazing job walking us through CVs, letters of intent, letters of recommendations, PhORCAS applications, Midyear and interviews. I am extremely grateful for the resources the college provided and felt supported in every step of the residency process.

Q: What advice do you have for students who will go through the Match process next year? 

A: Seek guidance from preceptors and mentors during your P4 year to help make the process easier. They are great resources for CV reviews, advice on where to apply and any questions you may encounter. I would also encourage students to start engaging with programs prior to Midyear. There are local or individual showcases that you can attend. Program representatives may remember meeting you, and it made me feel less nervous on interview day if I had spoken to them two or three times prior.  


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