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College of Pharmacy

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    finding their path

Students rely on alumni to learn about career options

Student pharmacists say one of the most valuable ways they learn about career options is by talking with those who have gone before them.

That is the purpose behind the College of Pharmacy’s annual Career Expo, which will take place on February 3, 2024.

This virtual networking event is a requirement for first- through third-year students. It is a chance to talk with experienced pharmacists from a wide array of backgrounds, from traditional roles such as community and independent pharmacy, clinical specialties, hospital settings and retail pharmacy to non-traditional options in the pharmaceutical industry, managed care and consulting.

“The Expo has become an expectation of the students each year that is met with anticipation,” says Amy Grant, associate dean of student affairs and diversity.

The process begins when students submit preferences for career field representatives to meet.

“It is exciting to hear from students who reach out to pharmacists they meet through the Expo for further guidance. Networking in this way allows students to practice these skills while narrowing down career fields that truly meet their interests.”

Nearly half of the presenters are alumni of the college. Last year’s participants represented 19 states, some from as far as Arizona and Maine.

“The pharmacy landscape is changing, and virtual communication is increasing in many parts of our profession,” Grant says. “Holding the Expo virtually not only allows for greater participation from pharmacists located all over the country, it lets students practice professional networking with individuals who are not physically located in front of them.”

Every job, every experience we have as Pharm.D.s can be informative and help students as they prepare for a career.

Mark Neese, '18, has been a presenter at past Career Expos. He is an associate director working in Business Development and Licensing with Bayer Pharmaceuticals on divestitures and out-licensing deals.

“Most Pharm.D. programs focus on clinical/hospital first, retail second and may only have a few industry opportunities,” Neese says.

“Luckily for me, an upperclassman and some professors provided information about accessing opportunities in industry, but I wish I had learned about industry and how to prepare for it earlier.”

He urges more alumni to consider taking part in the Career Expo.

“Every job, every experience we have as Pharm.D.s can be informative and help students as they prepare for a career. You will wind up running into past connections, as pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry are both small worlds.”

If you are interested in sharing your experiences at the next Career Expo, contact Sarah Sipes, associate director of alumni engagement and development.


Topics: Alumni Programs, Pharm.D. Programs, Support the College

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