Last Day!

Okay, it isn’t quite our last day of school (or the semester) yet, we still have 6 more months before we get to leave the classroom forever and start rotations.


Today was our last day of lab!!! To help us celebrate our lab professor even brought us cookies!

My classmate Todd and I enjoying our cookies after class!

My classmate Todd and I enjoying our cookies after class!



Happy Halloween!

What pharmacy students like to carve in their pumpkins!


You Can Go Surfing on Lake Superior!


Okay, maybe if I was actually a surfer, this would entice me to come to Duluth for a weekend. (There are things I enjoy about winter, icicles hanging off of my face just doesn’t happen to be one of them).  However, lucky for us, it was a good enough reason for Dr. Peter Kreeft to come to Duluth and speak at the annual White Mass that is put on by the Catholic Medical Association (CMA) here in Duluth!


Our speaker Dr. Peter Kreeft (center) with Dr. Harvieux (L) and Dr. Skorich (R)

I have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to be involved in the CMA during the last two and a half years, and it makes me sad that this may be my last White Mass until after graduation depending on where I end up for rotations. Getting the opportunity to get together with other health care professionals who share my faith has been a Godsend during some rough weeks over the last few years!  It has given me tools to help me integrate my faith into my life and career in the future (while remaining respectful of others’), as well as helping define my own values and beliefs so that I have a better sense of what I would be comfortable doing/not doing as a health care professional.


From left to right: Dr./Deacon Egan, Bishop Sirba, Deacon Brannan, and Father Muhich. Their support helps make St. Raphael’s Guild and the White Mass possible!


It has also been really amazing to watch the Guild grow over the last two years and has given me a great appreciation for how much persistence you sometimes need when leading change in the real world! Especially since it is sometimes hard to see the long term changes you are making to organizations in pharmacy school since we are only on campus for three years and the leaders of the organizations are often in the leadership role for a year or maybe two.  This year the White Mass was the most highly attended that I had seen (tickets for the dinner after actually sold out!), and it was really inspiring to see a such a large inter-professional group of health care providers come together outside of the hospital/clinic setting!


Our President and Secretary/Treasurer; Dr. Skorich and Dr. Harvieux



Flu Season is Here!!!

Hello blogosphere!

Remember in elementary school when Flu season meant substitute teachers, half the class out sick, and staying home watching cartoons?

In Pharmacy School, Flu season means the start of immunization season.  For my classmates who work in community pharmacies while in school, it means getting to give a lot of vaccines, which we learned how to do at the end of our PD1 year.  Since I do not work in a retail setting, I signed up for the Immunization elective, which involves learning how to set up an immunization clinic and participating in the Immunization clinic that health services puts on at UMD for students, faculty, and staff.  Last night we had our training so we know the different roles and jobs that we will be doing for the immunization clinic.  We also ran through different scenarios to practice what to do if someone is really nervous about getting their flu shot, faints, etc.  At the end we got to give each other our flu shots. We also had a surprise visitor at the end of our session! Our own Dean Seifert!  My classmate, Alex, bravely volunteered to give the Dean his flu shot!



A Round Robin Letter

Hello blog readers!

I guess I have been pretty bad at updating you on what I have been up to over the last couple months! When did I last post on here? November? December?

Anyways, in my family it’s that time of year again-when we all sit down and sharpen our pencils, dust of the typewriter, or open a new word document on our computers. See in my family, since there are so many of us, twice a year we write a round robin letter.  We each write one letter, than email/mail it to the designated family member, and they copy them/upload them into one giant PDF which is then mailed/emailed back to us.  It is a really great way to stay updated on what is going on in everyone’s life because even with Facebook, texting, etc. it is still difficult to stay caught up.  Since the last time I posted on here was about the same time as our last round robin letter, I figured I would just update everyone by posting my letter here instead of trying to update you in several different posts. Enjoy!


Greetings from Duluth!

If anyone is wondering-pharmacy school still feels like a whirlwind of studying, student organization meetings, work, sleep, more studying and maybe squeezing in a little bit of time for some fun 🙂

Since Winter Break, I have:

  1. Attended the annual American Pharmacists Association (APhA) in Baltimore. It was really amazing to learn more about the election process for the national office, get to know my fellow classmates a little better, and learn how to function on very little sleep-especially since I don’t drink coffee. Also learned a lot about health disparities when my classmate walked into a glass wall for a revolving door and broke her nose.  The ER experience in Baltimore was a lot different from my ER experiences in the past! Our school also submitted a PharmFlix video (the goal is to promote the profession of pharmacy) this year, and we made it to the top 5 which was exciting since it was the first year we have submitted one.
  2. 10392501_10153600244638925_4849207733103387135_nGot to meet the Rear Admiral Pamela Schweitzer!!!!! For those of you thinking, “why is this so exciting???” RADM Schweitzer is the Chief Pharmacy Officer for the US Public Health Service and serves as the Assistant Surgeon General! I actually met RADM Schweitzer at APhA briefly, so it was amazing and a great honor to get to meet her again.  While she was here, I also got to meet with her along with our SCOA liaison from the Twin Cities, and our MPSA President-Elect to discuss our SCOA group (Student chapter of the Commissioned Officer Association) and how we can further increase awareness of the US Public Health Service and public health initiatives being promoted by the current Surgeon General.
  3. IMG_4556Went to Fargo for the Northern Tier Conference for pharmacists in the commissioned core in Montana, N. Dakota, S. Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. This was a really fun event and opportunity to hang out with a bunch of the pharmacists from IHS as well as learn more about some of the topics that we have learned about in school this year. In fact, I think I learned more from some of the presenters than I have learned in class, but then again, that could just be because I was paying more attention!
  4. Went to Bemidji with the rest of the family and some friends to help my sister celebrate paying off her student loans!  Not going to lie, it made me feel a little bit wishful, daydreaming of the day when I will pay off my student loans…when I’m 80 (at least that’s how old I feel I will be when I eventually pay them off)!
  5. 1468545_1052487508146912_7577298019233144917_nParticipated in the Cultural Competency Competition that was put on by one of our student organizations. We basically worked in groups to come up with a plan to treat someone’s health care needs and who was from a minority and then created a video of our ‘clinic visit’ with them. It was a nice experience to learn more about how to more effectively treat someone who has a lack of knowledge about the health care system, other stressors in their life that affect their treatment, etc.  We also got an elective credit for participating, which is always nice!

Up and Coming stuff in my life:

After finals are over in May, a classmate and I will be headed to the USPHS COA Symposium in Oklahoma City (it is basically a big conference for Commissioner Officers). We will be presenting a poster on how SCOA has increased awareness of the USPHS among the pharmacy students at the UMN.  Thankfully, my sister is letting us crash at her place so we can split up the 14 hour drive.  It has been kind of fun to dig into the data showing that we have increased awareness and interest in the commissioned core since we started the group.

After returning from Oklahoma, I will be headed to Fergus Falls for my Intro to Hospital Pharmacy rotation this summer. The rotation is three weeks and I will be staying in the dorms at the Community College there.

After Fergus Falls I will be heading to PARKER, ARIZONA!!!!! If you can’t tell, I am just a little bit excited 😀 I will be doing another JRCOSTEP there, and I am also hoping to do some major traveling on the weekends to do some fun day hikes, despite the average summer temperature being over 100 °F.  Also hoping to finally see the Grand Canyon, and hopefully it isn’t foggy like when my cousin went for the first time!

Anyways, time to get back to studying….

From your pharmacist-in-training,





PharmFlix 2015

In the words of our Minnesota Pharmacy Student Alliance (MPSA) President today,

“WE DID IT!!!”

In the seven years that the American Pharmacist Association has held the PharmFlix Competition, the University of MN has never submitted a PharmFlix Video. Until now that is…

So what is the PharmFlix Video Contest? In the words of APhA it is “a way for student pharmacist to showcase their professionalism while also expressing their creativity by creating short public service announcements (PSA).”

And so, without further ado, please sit back, relax and enjoy the University of MN-College of Pharmacy 2015 PharmFlix Video!

Live Your Why

Hello everyone!

Sorry for not blogging in a while; as second years we are slowly accepting the universal truth that “life only gets busier as you get older.” However, even as life and school gets more and more crazy; it is always nice to get away for a weekend, or even a few hours to spend time reflecting about where we are and where we want to go.  I got to do this by attending the White Coat Mass in Duluth 2 weeks ago and the APhA-ASP MRM conference last weekend.

I found it amazing that at both of these events we talked about vocation and Live Your Why, and while they are separate ideas; they are very related to each other.  At the White Coat Mass, we had Sister Joan Marie Stelman speak about medicine as a vocation.  Most people when they think of a vocation think of the call to religious life.  As Sr. Stelman spoke about the meaning of vocation, I found myself thinking back to why I had decided to become a pharmacist in the first place. And I realized that my reason, as P.J. Palmer writes in his book Let Your Life Speak “had not come from a voice ‘out there’ calling me to be something I am not. It comes from a voice ‘in here’ calling me to be the person I was born to be.”

This was followed by MRM the following weekend; where we gained inspiration from this Ted Talk:

So how is living your why any different than responding to your vocation? I am finding that there is not any difference.  At the conference we talked about how our “why” should be those things that you enjoy doing.  And Palmer also writes of vocation that “True vocation joins self and service, as Frederick Buechner asserts when he defines vocation as ‘the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.'”

So, to any future/current pharmacists reading this:

What’s Your Why?

A Pharmacy Student’s Nightmare

Since many of us take notes electronically in pharmacy school, many of dread the day when our note-taking device fails to turn on or gives us a screen that looks like this:

Unfortunately, this year seems to be the year for our computers to be making the trip to computer heaven.  While I have not had my computer die yet, I did suffer the loss of all my notes from second year, and half of first year when my iPad crashed when I updated it (thank you iOS 9).

Some lessons my classmates and I have learned along the way from trying to (and sometimes failing) at getting our notes back:

Back up your notes

It doesn’t matter where you are backing them up to; just back them up somewhere!!

Make sure your notes are actually backing up

It’s not very fun when the folder where your notes where supposed to backing up to automatically is empty.  Even worse when you discover your backed up notes do not exist when you are trying to restore your notes to your note-taking device.

Don’t panic/It could be worse

It’s not the night before finals, so you have plenty of time to get your computer fixed/re-listen to lectures/get notes from classmates!

Your Pharmily really is the best!!

Thankfully, there are many classmates who are more technology-savvy than I am and are always willing to answer their less-tech savvy classmate’s questions.  Also-thanks to Google Drive, e-mail, and Airdrop- it is not to hard to get copies of notes from classmates!


The Great MN Get-Together

The Great MN Get-Together; also known as the State Fair.  This is probably one of my favorite things, so I was pretty excited to attend the State Fair for the first time in about 4 years this year!

While the State Fair was originally the place for farmers to showcase their animals and crops, over the years many educational displays and activities have been added.  The University of MN even has their own building where different colleges from the University can present research they are working on.  The College of Pharmacy even had a day in the building!

Some of my favorite things at the MN State Fair this year include;

1. Horticulture Building-

This year there was an entire section committed to Green Gardening. They had different displays on how to garden in more eco-friendly ways.


As always the seed art in this building never fails to amaze!!

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There is always a great variety of scarecrows for the scarecrow competition, but I even thought this one was scary!


There were quite a few displays on Public Health issues this year as well; varying from topics such as bed bugs to why there were no birds at the state fair this year.  The public health aspect of the state fair I had never really thought about until seeing this booth.  Am glad that the state fair committee takes such great precautions to keep Minnesotan’s healthy at the state fair!


2. Riding “The Needle”

Okay, its’ official name is The Space Tower, but I always think it looks like a needle

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3. The Grandstand and the Amateur Talent Contest

It is so amazing to hear/see all the different talents from across Minnesota. One of my favorite acts this year was the performance of this original song called “Summer in Minnesota.” (She placed 3rd!)


4. The University of Minnesota Building

Free stuff! And I got to do some basic review of brain anatomy/physiology and brain disorders! It felt reassuring that I was able to remember some basic information (i.e. What kind of stroke is the result of extremely high blood pressure).



Because two brains are better than one!






Sweet Summer

Hello everyone!

Does anyone else know the song “Sweet Summer” by Diamond Rio? You know the lines;

Even though I was out of school
I was learnin’ a lot

Well, those two lines sum up how I feel about this summer so far! So far my summer has consisted of the Puebla Service Project, my first IPPE, my internship with the Public Health Service, and more vacations time than I have had in a very long time! So what have I been learning from all of these experiences?

1) How to live on bottled water

The summer started with me heading off on the the Puebla Service Project. At the time, it was not big deal to drink out of bottled water-it was only for one week and it was either drink the bottled water or get sick! Upon my return home, I immediately headed off to my IPPE location; Thief River Falls. Well it turns out that there is tons of Iron in the water there (the water where I was staying literally had an orange/brownish tint to it). The lady I stayed with didn’t even drink the water and at my IPPE site we had the big five gallon water jugs for the break room. Currently I am staying at my aunt and uncle’s house-and while the water there was certainly drinkable, it has a gross taste to it, so I chose to drink bottled water. Then, when I went on a camping trip to Blue Mound State Park for a weekend camping trip with friends, we were greeted by this sign:


At this point it is beginning to feel normal to drink bottled water, and I have a feeling it will take some time when I get back to school before it feels normal to drink water from the tap. (Update; it still doesn’t feel normal-I have to keep reminding myself that I can drink water from the tap).

2) Sam Brown and the Browns Valley area-the Paul Revere of MN; Big stone lake state park, Agriculture

The first weekend I was out here was Browns Valley Days. For the first time I learned about the Paul Revere of Minnesota; Sam Brown-seriously, why did we never learn about this man when learning Minnesota history in middle school? I have also enjoyed visiting Big Stone Lake State Park, and attending a Threshing Bee with my aunt and uncle.

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3) How to navigate the “blue screen”

We’ve all seen pictures of old computers with the blue blackground and white text across the screen (or from when our computers decide to crash).  Well, both my IPPE site and the IHS still use this old system, so I have spent a lot of time getting used to navigating it. I am finally starting to get used to it, though I still have to ask how to do things in it at least once a day it seems.

4) CPR

While I have been certified in CPR since I was 16, this summer I became a CPR instructor for AHA! I am looking forward to getting to teach CPR to other pharmacy students!

5) Just Give Them a Pickle!

As part of my internship with the IHS this summer, I had to attend a yearly training that covered items such as employee safety, emergency weather protocols (for when things like this storm happen-I was glad to be out of town during that one!), and customer service.  For the customer service portion; we talked about the “Just Give Them a Pickle” video, which everyone else had seen except me, so of course I had to go home and look it up. I thought it was pretty great and worth sharing!

6) Wall Drug

One cannot go on a road trip across South Dakota with out stopping at one of the most famous drug stores in the U.S. What started out as a pharmacy has now turned into a popular tourist attraction after the original owner started offering a free cup of water to thirsty travelers. While I wouldn’t really call it a pharmacy anymore; it was cool to look at their display of old pharmacy objects and medicines. And of course we had to get our free cup of water!

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7) Living without Internet

Even though I grew up without internet access at home, this was still much harder than I thought it would be! For one, I had assignments that needed to be submitted during my IPPE. Second, the number of e-mails from the College and classmates during the summer was way higher than I was expecting; despite school being out, a lot of planning for events during the school year is still going on.

8) The Legend of Crazy Horse

On my trip to the Black Hills, my favorite site was definitely the Crazy Horse Memorial. Since I was working at an IHS facility for the summer, I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about Native American culture! I also really enjoyed the light show that they put on every night.  In fact, the Heads were kind of a let down after the Crazy Horse Memorial.

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9) Physiology

As PD2s we have to take a Physiology assessment so I spent a lot of my time when I was driving listening to some of my old Anatomy & Physiology lectures.

10) Summer is sweet, but home is sweeter.

What can I say, I missed seeing my Pharmily this summer, and can’t wait to catch up with everyone! Three months is too long to go without seeing any of these lovely faces!