Pre-pharm student fast-tracking degree to get a jump on the job market

Pre-pharm student fast-tracking degree to get a jump on the job market

Emilia Abdollahian, '22, knows exactly what she wants to accomplish at University of the Pacific, and she's on the fast-track to get it done.

With her sights set on becoming a pharmacist, the 19-year-old from Fresno enrolled in the Stockton Campus' pre-pharmacy advantage program so she can finish in five years instead of the eight that it usually takes to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

"I was saving three extra years," said Abdollahian who's enrolled in the most intense of Pacific's three accelerated programs.

A science buff in high school, she decided to pursue a career in pharmacy because lab work and advising physicians on which drugs to prescribe was more appealing than spending most of her time with patients as a medical doctor.

Abdollahian, who graduated from high school with a 4.3 GPA, wrote her own ticket: She was accepted to three University of California campuses and Fresno State University offered her a full-ride scholarship for all four years.

But enrolling in Pacific's pre-pharmacy program meant she wouldn't have to apply a second time to its pharmacy school ─ admission is guaranteed if she maintains her grades ─ and it gives her a chance to get a jump on a job.

Abdollahian considers the highlight of her experience at Pacific the contact she already has with Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy professors, who serve as advisers to pre-pharmacy students. The connections she made this fall led to a position as a teaching assistant for one of her professors, and she's hoping to work with another faculty member on a research project.

Abdollahian's advice to high schoolers considering Pacific's rigorous pre-pharm program is to accept all the help the university offers.

"Professors are open for office hours a lot," she said. "Second, the chemistry department has students who ... help you through practice problems (and) they also have free tutoring on campus. If you take advantage of all these free resources, you can make it. You can be successful."