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Noah Raganschmalz

Charting a new course

Navy submarine engineer's journey to community pharmacy

In the depths of the ocean, Noah Raganschmalz, a first-year pharmacy student set to graduate in 2027, once served as a technical mastermind, orchestrating the inner workings of nuclear submarines. However, Raganschmalz's mission has evolved.

The seasoned, 33-year-old Navy-trained engineer is embarking on an uncommon voyage that extends beyond military technology, prioritizing compassion and care within the world of community pharmacy.

Noah Raganschmalz in Navy uniform posing with another person.

After joining the Navy and spending nearly a decade as a nuclear electrician on submarines, Raganschmalz is off on a new journey at the USC College of Pharmacy. He hopes to become a resource for health and wellness for his community.

"Everyone has had to take medication or has needed help navigating through medical jargon," says Raganschmalz. "I believe that pharmacy is the front line of helping people."

Charting the course to pharmacy wasn't an entirely new adventure since he worked as a pharmacy tech while in high school.

“Towards the end of my tour on the boat in 2017, I was still feeling that calling to go back to pharmacy,” says Raganschmalz. “I love the ability to be able to help people in my community.”

Testing the waters 

Born in California and raised in Texas, Raganschmalz's military career took him across the Pacific Ocean. Following his service, Raganschmalz pursued his dream of returning to school. A vital part of his plan was receiving a scholarship to attend the University of South Carolina.

“The help is crucial and someone who is younger than I am who gets out of the service might have not had the opportunities I’ve had or the ability to save up as I did,” says Raganschmalz. “It allows me to focus on my schoolwork, what I want to do with my future and how I can impact pharmacy and the university.”

Noah Raganschmalz in uniform posing for a picture with another person.

Raganschmalz received the Donald W. Beam scholarship from the College of Pharmacy, which encourages pharmacists to innovate within community pharmacy.

“It’s important to share how donations that provide support and scholarships like mine can make a difference because that support directly helps students, conventional and nonconventional alike,” says Raganschmalz.

He credits the USC Veterans and Military Services team with helping him navigate the transition from a highly specialized military role to a pharmacy student, making him feel connected to the university.

“They went out of their way to help me to get all my ducks in a row and get everything started so that I could meet deadlines I set for myself,” says Raganschmalz. "The Veterans Office on campus does a really good job highlighting how diverse the military community is and the different aspects it can bring to the civilian sector, post-service.”

Raganschmalz emphasizes the importance of perseverance and finding support systems during difficult transitions, whether for a veteran or any aspiring professional.

"It's okay to be a little scared, but you have to conquer that fear and seek help if it's something you're passionate about," says Raganschmalz. “I've lived in four different states, but now having the support at South Carolina makes this the first place where I feel like I've actually put down roots since growing up.”

Commitment to service

Raganschmalz gives back by volunteering as the garden coordinator for the Sustainable Carolina Garden, where students spearhead an urban garden to advance healthier and more sustainable local food systems. He also helps at the A.C. Moore Herbarium, which houses the largest plant collection in the state, used for research at USC and around the world.

"I get to do that because I don't have to work as many hours," says Raganschmalz. "It's been a rewarding experience, and you'd be surprised how much learning about plants can help in pharmacy school, too."

“I've lived in four different states, but now having the support at South Carolina makes this the first place where I feel like I've actually put down roots since growing up.”

Noah Raganschmalz

The remarkable journey from navigating the depths of classified missions in the Navy to serving others and promoting wellness is driven by his quest to make a positive difference.

"There are so many people out there who don't understand everything their doctor tells them," Raganschmalz says. "Being that extra line of communication is critical to help with understanding their conditions and therapies. I know pharmacy is my calling. I am meant to be a pharmacist."

Learn more about giving at the University of South Carolina and how you can support the success of USC students during Give 4 Garnet