March 21, 2013

Student Profile – Rachel Hardke – ’13

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Hometown: Alma, Ark.
Undergraduate major/university: B.S. Biology/ University of Arkansas at Fayetteville

Background & Reason for Choosing Pharmacy
After graduating from Alma High School in 2004, I received a scholarship to attend the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. My senior year of college I was crowned Miss Arkansas USA 2008 and took a semester away from school to compete in the Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas. The three weeks I spent in Las Vegas were amazing! After I finished my year as Miss Arkansas, I completed my degree and applied to pharmacy school. I was accepted and here I am today just a few months from graduating.

I knew in high school that I wanted to be a pharmacist.  I loved healthcare and the idea of helping patients.  I was fairly certain one of the prerequisites for medical school was the ability to stay conscious upon the sight of blood.  Pharmacy school, gross anatomy-free, sounded like a much better option.

Choosing UAMS & Opportunities It Provides
I decided to attend UAMS because the institution and the College of Pharmacy have extremely respected programs.  The COP has put together an amazing team of administrators, professors, and support staff that truly care about their students, not only academically, but personally as well.  One unique opportunity I have had as a student was winning the UAMS Patient Counseling Competition in 2011 after finishing as first runner-up in 2010.  Winning this competition allowed me to represent UAMS at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Annual Meeting in New Orleans, La. in March 2012.  I was honored to finish as first runner-up in the National Patient Counseling Competition.  I was also awarded the APhA-ASP Arkansas Patient Counseling scholarship.  Another honor I am especially proud of is being named the APhA-ASP P3 Student of the Year.

Plans after Graduation
I am currently interviewing for a position as a nursing home consultant.  I did not even know what a pharmacy consultant was until my first APPE rotation of my fourth year.  I fell in love with both the job and working with geriatric patients.  I would like to become certified in geriatric pharmacy at some point in the future.

Advice for Prospective Students
Make friends.  It is a short, but long four years.  You will need them.

Something That Surprised You About Pharmacy School
I had no idea how many opportunities there are for pharmacists.  You can really be any type of provider you want to be.  It is just up to you to take advantage of the time you have as a student to figure it out.