BALTIMORE – Laura Calderon Lugo D’23 learned earlier this semester that she will be returning to her home in Puerto Rico much sooner than expected.
岛上的药房实习期竞争非常激烈, with many of the limited opportunities typically offered to students who attend pharmacy school in Puerto Rico. The School of Pharmacy我是2023年的班长, however, overcame those odds to earn a spot at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Juan beginning this fall.
The chance to return home came after Calderon Lugo took advantage of the many leadership and academic opportunities available to her during her four years studying at 马里兰大学圣母大学. Learn more about Calderon Lugo’s NDMU experience in today’s Class of 2023 spotlight:
我一直被医疗保健行业所吸引, but it wasn’t clear to me which path I was going to take until during my time as an undergraduate. 我以前曾考虑过成为一名教师, 但后来我意识到，作为一名药剂师，我可以两样都做, because pharmacists can be seen as teachers to their patients on a daily basis. I saw it as a way to merge those two passions of teaching and healthcare.
How did you first hear about the program at Notre Dame, and what originally led you to apply here?
我选择巴黎圣母院的主要原因, apart from the fact that there was already an established Puerto Rican community here, was the dedication that the staff displayed during the recruitment of students. Larry Shattuck (director of admissions for the School of Pharmacy) emailed me directly, 他亲自来到波多黎各大学, and he took the time to talk to me about the program for close to an hour. 有那种帮助学生的动力, 用一种不肤浅的方式来做这件事, 他真的轻而易举地做出了去巴黎圣母院的决定.
谈谈你在这里的经历. What organizations have you been a part of, and what leadership positions have you held?
我的第一个领导职位是担任2023届副主席. That was for the first two years, and then I transitioned into the role of Class of 2023 President. 这个职位很有挑战性，需要承担很多责任, 但它确实在帮助我成为一名优秀的领导者方面发挥了作用. 英语不是我的第一语言, and I used to be very self-conscious when writing emails or talking to people, 但这个立场完全改变了这一点. 它把我带出了我的壳, 它帮助我提高了我的沟通技巧, 它真的帮助我成长为今天的领导者.
I’ve also served as the Operation Hear co-chair and chair for our American Pharmacists Association student chapter. 那个职位确实帮助我扩大了对临床药学的热情. Before I came to Notre Dame, I thought that all pharmacists were just community pharmacists. When I got here, though, the learning and leadership opportunities expanded my scope of what I could become as a pharmacist. I thought I was going to become a normal commercial or retail pharmacist in Puerto Rico, but now I have a residency lined up with the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Juan to become a clinical pharmacist. 它完全改变了我的生活和职业道路.
Could you talk more about your upcoming residency opportunity in Puerto Rico?
我没有想到我会匹配那个特定的住院医师, 因为这是一个竞争非常激烈的过程. 在波多黎各居住的机会有限, and they often go to students who remained on the island for pharmacy school. 我得到了面试的机会, 最终得到了这个职位, 对我来说是一个非常快乐的时刻吗, 因为这意味着我可以回家和家人团聚了. 我的家人都还在波多黎各, 但有一半时间我还是不敢相信我真的要回去了.
I really enjoyed my time here, though, and I will always hold Notre Dame in high esteem. 药学院为我做了很多, 我会考虑成为岛上学校的老师. 我知道这些经历有多重要, and being able to offer that to Puerto Rican students back home would be amazing for me.
How did your learning opportunities in and out of the classroom at NDMU help you develop as a pharmacist?
我认为是学习的机会, both the introductory and advanced practice opportunities that the school offers, 是学生探索药学不同方面的好方法吗. For example, 我知道我想成为一名临床药剂师, 所以我选择了专注于此的实践. 我在约翰霍普金斯医院做过临床研究, 这真的激发了我成功的动力. 我从P4年初就开始了, and it was like okay, 如果我能通过这条赛道，我就知道我是天生的.
那段经历帮助我选择了最后的道路. I’ve had other classmates that have done the same thing in different areas. Some, for example, 专注于复合先进的做法，并喜欢它, 现在他们想成为配药药剂师. The opportunities that were provided to us can go hand in hand with what we hope to become after we graduate.
One of the best experiences I’ve had is being able to have such a strong sense of community, 不仅仅是和我的波多黎各同胞, 而是整个班级. That has made it much easier to handle being so far away from home, especially during COVID. 这次大流行非常困难, 尤其是对那些住在校园里的人, but the fact that we were able to support each other during the toughest of times will always be a very good memory for me. I’m going to hold the people from my class close to my heart forever because of that sense of community that we shared during those times.
我想最终进入学术界，成为一名教授. 教学仍然是我最大的爱好之一. 我在巴黎圣母院读二年级时就开始做家教了, and that has been an amazing opportunity for me to not only develop my teaching skills, 也是为了帮助那些需要帮助的波多黎各同胞. I’ve been able to tutor in both Spanish and English to help out with that transition. It can be difficult, because speaking English colloquially and in conversation is not always the same as studying complex medical terms. 这对我来说是一次很好的经历.
Is there a message you’d like to share with pharmacy students who are still working their way through the program?
Hang in there. 这个项目非常困难，但最终的回报是惊人的. 你会回想起那些漫长的学习之夜, 还有那些你觉得自己做不到的日子, 当你到达终点时，你会说, ‘Oh, 我一直都是这么想的.’ You just have to persevere, and don’t let fear of failure get in the way.
Established in 1895, 马里兰圣母大学(NDMU)是一所私立大学, 巴尔的摩的天主教机构, Maryland, 我们的使命是培养改变世界的领导者. Notre Dame has been named one of the best "Regional Universities North" by U.S. News & World Report.