Anna Eskender


Next step: pharmacy residency at Luminis Health in Annapolis, Maryland

Anna Eskender was raised with the philosophy that helping others is necessary. As an ONU graduate, she will continue this family legacy by assisting people with their medical needs.

Eskender is the fourth pharmacist in her family and third to graduate with a PharmD degree from ONU’s Raabe College of Pharmacy. She and her brother and sister were particularly inspired by their mother, an ICU clinical pharmacist.

“We were fortunate enough to work with her as pharmacy technicians and then as interns once we got our internship license. We saw how essential she was to the primary health care team in the ICU and with family members,” Eskender said.

“People would call her asking her, ‘We're going out of the country. What medications do we pack?' or 'so-and-so is sick, what do we do?’” she said. “Just being able to see the knowledge she had within pharmacy, and being able to not only serve people in the community, but our own family, triggered our interest to wanting to be like her.”

Eskender came to campus as a freshman in August 2017 after her siblings transferred to ONU from Ohio State University.

“Once they found out about the direct entry pharmacy program, they ended up transferring over,” she said. “So, it was my sister and then my brother first, and then I started out as a typical freshman.”

What wasn’t typical, however, was attending pharmacy school during a worldwide pandemic. Eskender, though, took the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to help others. She went back to her Cincinnati-area hometown of Loveland, Ohio, and worked at her local hospital while attending online classes.

“I worked a lot as a pharmacy intern at Bethesda North Hospital when the shifts were available, and they were always available.,” Eskender said. She also used social media and had conversations with friends and family to encourage informed decision making in the face of vaccine hesitancy, doubts and misinformation. “Being able to finally explain that to people, I thought, was a big role I played in the pandemic,” she said.

Eskender also joined organizations like the student chapter of the American Pharmacists Association, one of the largest pharmacy organizations in the country. In her time with APhA, she served multiple leadership roles, including professional meetings coordinator and membership vice president. Through the APhA Foundation, Eskender was awarded the Mary Munson Runge Scholarship in honor of the first female and African American president of APhA. It is a national scholarship presented annually to one recipient.

She also served as vice president of the ONU African Student Association, was a member of Black Student Union. In fact, Eskender is a first-generation native-born American to parents who were born and raised in Ethiopia.

“Being able to have a woman, and not only that, but a woman of color, also have a leadership role in a big pharmacy organization, was something I felt like I could really relate to,” Eskender said.

While at ONU, she also served as Resident Director within Residence Life, Pharmacy Peer Mentor, Pharmacy College representative on Student Senate, founder of ONU’s running club and member of Kappa Psi ­­– a professional pharmaceutical fraternity.

She will now take her skills from ONU into her Post Graduate Year One (PGY1) pharmacy residency program with Luminis Health in Annapolis, Maryland. Eskender said she was excited to match in Annapolis due to having friends and family in the Washington, D.C. and northern Virginia area. She will spend one year in a more than 400-bed community hospital experiencing different rotations while performing a combination of pharmacists’ duties, research projects and educational presentations

“You're seeing all these different areas of pharmacy within your residency program, and have a different pharmacist that you're reporting to each month,” she said. “Being able to be with about eight different pharmacists each month and gaining their wisdom and their knowledge, I think it’ll be a wonderful transition for me to transition for me from student to practitioner,” she said.