still remember the day when I realized I wanted to become a pharmacist. It
occurred when I was 12 years old and living in India. I was told my grandfather
was dying of cancer. I visited my uncle, a research pharmacist, and asked him
to heal my grandfather by compounding a new medicine in his laboratory. “There
is no drug that can really heal your grandfather,” he told me.
simple sentence was transformational for me.
As a sixth grader, I thought anything was possible if you worked hard
enough. Little did I know, it was to be one of two transformational events in
my life. The second was enrolling at the University of North Florida. Believing
better educational opportunities existed in the United States, in 2009 I
decided to leave my family and friends behind to explore an exciting new world.
I had never been out of my country, let alone to the United States, so it was a
major decision in my life.
I attended a private Florida university for a semester but after additional
research decided that UNF was the place for which I was looking. I wanted to
attend a university where I could establish a close working relationship with faculty
members. It was important for me to know my professors, as that was the way I
learned in India. If the faculty knows you well, they are better able to help
you achieve your goals. UNF has done exactly that and much more for me.
pursuing a dual bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry. I was fortunate to
be selected an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Amy Lane’s research lab in the Department
of Chemistry. I am privileged to be a part of the Lane Lab’s Transformational
Learning Opportunity, which is focused on the discovery of novel marine natural
products from organisms collected from Florida Keys. We pursued chemical and
microbiological studies to discover potential antibiotic molecules, which can be
used as anti-bacterial drugs. This research experience has further stimulated
my interest in the field of drug discovery and development.
interest in pharmacy also has prompted me to establish a Pre-Pharmacy Club at
UNF. The establishment of the club and successful recruitment of 45 other students
has played a role in my leadership development and also helped me secure a shadowing
opportunity in the Mayo Clinic’s Department of Pharmacy.
along with my part-time job at the Thomas G. Carpenter Library, have helped me
to avoid student loans. And for that, I am very grateful. I will not face years
of debt to pay off my education after I graduate.
still have a long road ahead of me after I graduate from UNF. Four years of pharmacy
school and post-graduate training will help me to make my childhood dreams into
reality. Ultimately, I aim to establish a drug research organization with a
team of researchers dedicated towards developing the field of drug discovery.
it’s attending the CNN Republican presidential debate on campus, meeting
various international envoys or my upcoming summer leadership experience in
Germany, the seemingly endless list of unique opportunities at UNF have been
instrumental in transforming me from an average high school kid to a
well-rounded and confident student, who has become more determined to run that
extra mile to fulfill his life aspirations.