Pharmacy Student Stories
In her time at Ohio Northern, Amarachi “Amara” Egbujor, a pharmacy major from Nigeria, Africa, has learned to embrace her own unique identity.
When Egbujor first came to ONU, she was shy and reserved, and she was especially fearful of sharing her background with anyone. She would often be mistaken as African-American, but from time to time, her accent would give her away. Being different made her nervous and insecure; she just wanted to blend in.
Then, in the spring of her first year, she participated in the annual multicultural fair at ONU, an event celebrating different cultures with food, attire and presentations about other countries. She dressed up in Nigerian garb, made a Nigerian dish and shared a PowerPoint presentation about her culture. This experience opened her eyes to the fact that being different made her special.
Since then, she has really come into her own. She has intermingled with students from other countries as a member of World Student Organization, and she has served the local community in several ways through Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity on campus. She also has been an international student greeter for the past few years, helping incoming international students settle in upon arrival and through their orientation week activities.
“There’s been a huge 180-degree transformation in me,” she says. “Before I came here, I used to be reserved and shy. If I would talk in front of people, I would literally cry, but with the exposure here, I feel confident talking now. I’ve always had that struggle of finding where I belong, but being here has made me realize that you can just be you.”
Community service has been a way of life for pharmacy major Monica Coupe. Her involvement in an independent project in ONU’s College of Pharmacy combined her interests in community service and her academic pursuits.
Coupe was part of a team of students who worked with the Ohio State University Extension Office in Hardin County. Her involvement included designing and delivering educational presentations and screenings to Hardin County employees.
The College of Pharmacy’s independent study program focuses on outreach, and it provides benefits to both the students and the area organizations involved. It was a perfect match for Coupe, who was largely drawn to the field of pharmacy due to her desire to help others.
“I want to make a difference and use my skills to help others,” she says. “It is important to be part of something bigger than myself and to contribute to the community where I live.”
Coupe also has been actively involved in residence life as a director of Founders residence hall. From this experience, she has learned how to lead others and solve problems within the campus community.
“I love it at ONU. There is a great sense of community,” Coupe says. “I have made lifelong friends, and I am confident I am prepared for the future.”
Eric Belanger appeared in ONU's first broadcast television commercial, "The Unexpected," wielding a microphone during a segment featuring his band, the Dimers. The six-member band has played at campus events for the past few years, and its reputation garnered so much attention that the ONU Office of Communications and Marketing reached out to them to be a part of the video. He and the other band members were thrilled.
Belanger’s favorite part of the experience was working with the film crew. He described how filming the concert scene in the Bear Cave was challenging.
“I had to figure out a way to charge up with power and then grab the microphone stand but not move it at all because it’s so zoomed in,” he says. “It was an adventure.”
Belanger loves the small size of Ada and Ohio Northern University, but just because it’s small doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do – a concept he thinks the video definitely captures.
“Even though it’s in a town in the middle of 20 miles of cornfields, you still never get bored,” he says. “I was afraid coming here that I would have to travel to find things to do, but I rarely even leave campus or hit Main Street without finding something to do.”
He likes the energy the video exerts, and he believes people’s reaction to the video will reflect that energy.
“I don’t see how someone won’t like it, because it’s just a video of a bunch of people having fun,” he says. “That’s what ONU is.”
Sixth-Year Pharmacy Major
San Ramon, Costa Rica
Opportunities abroad can fulfill classes for your major or general education requirements, help with your desire to learn a new language, or provide the chance to do an internship! Each student has their own reasons for going abroad, but Lucas wanted to improve his Spanish language skills while working in another country’s health care system. Serving as an intern and speaking a different language allowed him to develop professionally and become more culturally competent. “Study abroad allowed me to realize how independent and comfortable I can be while living in a new area. I truly was able to understand myself better as a person.”
Fifth-Year Pharmacy Major
Seoul, South Korea
Being able to engage in international education is a rewarding opportunity from which students of all majors can benefit. Some students perceive barriers such as cost, time, homesickness and language skills. Abigail utilized the study abroad office to help pick a program that was cost-effective and fit into her pharmacy curriculum. She was able to pick a program that provided classes in English and included students from all over the world. She was able to make some great friends who helped combat any homesickness, and with whom she was able to explore the culture, learning outside of what was taught in her classes. She was able to make her study abroad experience come true and take advantage of just one of many study abroad opportunities. “If you even think you are at all interested, do it! If you want to go, the only thing stopping you is you,” she says.
Albert Bui, a sixth-year pharmacy student from Winnetka, Calif., believes that ONU has given him the opportunity to explore his thirst for learning and scientific discovery.
Albert decided to attend ONU because of its emphasis on teaching, community involvement and research with a strong support system. “ONU stood out from other schools in the sense that it exudes a familial environment, one that fosters camaraderie and lifelong relationships,” he says.
ONU has helped Albert connect his passion with a purpose through his extensive research with Dr. Boyd Rorabaugh. “Faculty and staff, particularly in the pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences department, have been integral to my success,” he says. “Working in Dr. Rorabaugh’s lab has fueled my passion in understanding the underlying mechanisms of cardiovascular disease. This experience also gave me the skills to critically analyze data and seek the solutions for encountered problems. With this momentum, I will continue to learn as much as I can about the cardiovascular system so that I may improve the lives of patients with complex heart issues.”
Albert’s research has led to three published papers in peer-reviewed journals. These publications are evidence of student success and the caliber of research that ONU can produce.
After graduating this May, Albert hopes to eventually work in the field of cardiology, practicing high-quality evidence-based medicine and conducting clinical/biomedical research.
Finding a perfect match.
“Pharmacy is the perfect profession because it will allow me to positively impact the health of others while providing a flexible schedule that would be compatible with my other dream job of being a mom,” says Shannon Kraus.
And she thinks ONU’s pharmacy program is just as special. “This summer, I realized how well-respected our University is by other schools across the country. I saw firsthand the great reputation an ONU degree carries. For example, while in Baltimore, I heard countless times about the amazing students that have come out of our pharmacy program and that any student that comes from ONU is already held in high regard in terms of professionalism and knowledge.”
She hopes to continue her education in pharmacy administration residency and earn a master’s degree in health system administration, building not only her pharmacy knowledge, but also the leadership skills developed while working with ONU’s Residence Life, Kappa Epsilon, President’s Club, Newman Club and the Student Planning Committee.
PTSD research? It’s not just for graduate school!
Post-traumatic stress disorder research: It’s not the kind of research most undergraduates have the opportunity to experience. Yet for Brianne Mosley, a double major in pharmacy and psychology, it’s a perfect match.
Brianne works with Dr. Philip Zoladz in ONU’s psychology department on the effects of stress on learning and memory. “It provides me with an opportunity unlike any other. I have the chance to participate in research, while obtaining my undergraduate degree, that compares to that performed by graduate school students.”
From an early age, she has been intrigued by how medication can improve patients’ lives. “To make a positive impact on the lives of others, I have decided that I want to be a neuropsychiatric pharmacist.”
To accomplish that goal, she wants to participate in a two-year residency after graduating from ONU, so she can specialize in psychiatric pharmacy. “This specialization will allow me to work in a psychiatric hospital, where I can treat patients with neurological diseases and other psychiatric disorders,” she explains. “It is my dream to be the person who allows a patient to live a happy, healthy and productive life with the help of medicine.”
Study abroad is another chance to grow.
Angela Chu, a pharmacy and Spanish double major, plans to follow up her ONU education with a residency in pediatrics, potentially specializing in critical care.
“I want to be on the front lines taking care of the sickest children and knowing that I directly impacted someone’s life,” she says.
But before that, she has had some amazing experiences, thanks to ONU. “I never thought I would have ever studied abroad – let alone twice, but ONU encourages this despite having a rigorous curriculum. And I’ve even been published, which is unheard of for an undergraduate,” she says.
ONU offers opportunities to develop outside of the classroom with research opportunities for undergrads, clubs to fit anyone’s interests, and events every weekend, too.
“Studying abroad after my sophomore year changed me for the better. Modern language majors have to do a capstone studying abroad. I’m so grateful that this is a requirement, because I would have never done it otherwise.”
Lots of opportunities to help others
Steven Cole loves science and math and helping others, especially the elderly. And he likes ONU’s 0-6 pharmacy program, which allows students to take classes in their major on the first day. This pharmacy major interned with Bausch and Lomb, working on contact lenses projects, but he’s planning a career in community pharmacy so that he can a difference in the lives of others.
Helping others is his goal, and membership in the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASP) and American Society of Consulting Pharmacists (AMCP) has helped him sharpen that focus. As ASCP president, he’s helping the group make great strides by assisting the elderly and starting two new outreach programs. He already works at Walgreens on the weekends and wants to implement what he has learned about caring for older adults into his professional life.
“ONU has given me lots of opportunities,” he says.
Robertson-Evans Pharmacy Building
525 South Main Street
Ada, Ohio 45810
Tuesday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Wednesday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Thursday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.