Top-achieving pharmacy students earn a boost to make their dreams a reality

October 28, 2021 • Uncategorized

By Arnessa Blanks

Becoming a pharmacist takes a heavy dose of dedication and commitment with a full schedule of coursework and clinical rotations spanning four years. This year’s new Class of 2025 ushered in a wealth of high achievers, including 15 students selected for the Dean’s Achievement Award, providing a financial boost to help make their dreams a reality.

For many of them, beginning professional school is a milestone representing a longtime passion to enter the health profession and the obstacles they overcame. These 15 students, who entered the program with a 3.5 or above, come from diverse backgrounds and are ready to begin their pharmacy school journey to become successful pharmacists.

Somayeh Abedisafa
Somayeh Abedisafa

“This award means a lot to me and reminds me of the challenges that I tackled in order to get to this point,” said Somayeh Abedisafa. “Eight years ago, I moved to the U.S. and had a dream of being a pharmacist. I waited five years to get permanent residency and started taking prerequisite courses. Three years later, I decided to apply for pharmacy school.”

Mathew Reyna completed his undergrad at the University of North Texas. Attending “Pre-Pharmacy Day” in 2019 piqued his interest in the profession. Abedisafa said it will be important for her to adjust to this new study-life balance and deeply understand different topics and concepts to ensure her success as a student pharmacist.

“I’ve always known that I wanted to be in the medical field because I enjoy helping others,” Reyna said.

Mathew Reyna
Mathew Reyna

“Throughout high school, I looked into the various professions and decided pharmacy would be the best fit for me.”

This award allows him to continue higher education with financial relief so he can focus on succeeding inside and outside the classroom.

Ernest Estrada said he is grateful to have the support of his family, peers and patients.

“It’s been a long, slow, steady climb,” he said. “I’ve worked as a pharmacy technician for a while and was taking a few classes at a time while working to complete my prerequisites.”

His pharmacy manager, who is a UNTHSC College of Pharmacy alumnus, inspired him to apply.

“After working with many pharmacists and patients over the years, I realized that I wanted to do more to support my patients,” said Estrada. “UNTHSC’s interdisciplinary, patient-centered approach means that I’ll be well prepared to function as a key member of the total patient care team. This is important to me because I believe the pharmacy business model is changing from product-based care to service-based care.”

Ernest Estrada
Ernest Estrada

We wanted to acknowledge these high-achieving students with this financial award,” said HSC College of Pharmacy Dean, Dr. Madhavan. “They’ve dedicated time and hard work to their studies prior to starting pharmacy school and this will translate into their successes as student pharmacists and eventually as caring practitioners.”

2021 Dean’s Achievement Award recipients:

Somayeh Abedisafa, Kamali Adewale, Thi Bui, Ngan Do, Ernest Estrada, Juhwan Kim, Hoaxin Liu, Emmanuela Mbochafi, Hiep Nguyen, Alice Olubode, Ikeoluwa Omopariola, Krisha Patel, Mathew Reyna, Ghewa Sbaiti, Jalyn Vance