School of Pharmacy

Nicole Wegryzn

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Nicole Wegryzn
Pharm.D. Class of 2012

Wegryzn

Where are you from and what high school did you attend?

I'm originally from South Windsor, Connecticut, and I went to Northwest Catholic High School in West Hartford, Connecticut.


What year are you graduating?

2012


How did you hear about the School of Pharmacy at Northeastern, and why did you choose pharmacy?

When I was 13, I had a life-threatening MRSA pneumonia and was admitted to the ICU for about a week. I was intrigued by the healthcare team that took care of me and began to research different fields. Pharmacy emerged as the winner because of the way it allows me to practice in a clinical setting while maintaining freedom outside of my career.

It was probably my guidance counselor who informed me of the School of Pharmacy at Northeastern and I fell in love with the campus immediately upon setting foot here. I found out that Northeastern is one of the few schools where pharmacy students can obtain a Pharm.D. in only 6 years, a combined undergraduate and graduate program, which I just couldn't pass up.


Did the co-op program play a role in your decision to attend Northeastern?

Absolutely! I believe that we are the only school in the country where pharmacy students can complete their Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPE) requirements and get paid for them. I have accrued over 2000 hours in pharmacy practice settings through my co-ops, which is well beyond the Board requirements. Living and working in Boston is great, and the proximity to major teaching hospitals is astounding and the opportunities are endless.


Where did you do your co-ops?

My first co-op was at J. E. Pierce Apothecary, where I prepared compounded medications (gels, ointments, lotions, lozenges, solutions, suspensions, suppositories, etc.) by hand using a mortar and pestle. I also got front store experience dispensing commercially available medications, interacting with healthcare providers, and counseling patients on their therapies under the supervision of a pharmacist.

For my second co-op, I worked as the Research Assistant to the Chief Scientific Officer at the National Brain Tumor Association. It was an unorthodox co-op in the sense that I was not directly working with medications, but was focused on the grant program side of the association. I communicated with principal investigators and consolidated outcomes of recently funded trials.

I did my third co-op at Dana Farber Cancer Institute preparing IV chemotherapy. At times, the pharmacists would let me help enter orders and determine Investigational Drug protocol eligibility under supervision, which allowed me great insight into what an oncology pharmacist might do on a daily basis.


How beneficial were the co-ops?

The co-ops were instrumental in my development, both personally and professionally. I was able to learn which avenues I did and didn't want to pursue as a pharmacist. I also feel that the experience I gained on co-op helped me to be selected for interviews at competitive residency programs for next year.


If you are in your 6th year, what is your favorite APPE?

I don't know that I can pick! I have had phenomenal rotations so far but the one that helped solidify my career plans the most was at Neponset Health Center providing ambulatory care services (managing chronic disease states like diabetes) in Dorchester.


What is your plan for directly after graduation?

Following graduation, I am pursuing a PGY1 residency focused in ambulatory care and academia.


What student groups and/or leadership roles are you involved in?

Of the organizations I am involved in, I would like to highlight a few: I am the Co-President of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), a new student organization as of the 2011-2012 school year. Through NCPA, I have attended legislative action days in Washington D.C. to advocate for pharmacy and patients' rights. I am also a student member of the Massachusetts Independent Pharmacists Association. During the latter half of my P2 (fourth) year I was selected to represent the School of Pharmacy at an interdisciplinary group of students from medicine, law, and nursing professions called together to form a task force on women’s health issues, later known as Progressive Student Coalition for Reproductive Justice. I then assisted with the creation of a Women’s Health Initiative branch of our chapter of the American Pharmacists Association, known as the Academy of Student Pharmacists (ASP-APhA).

Throughout my four professional years, I maintained a steady job at an independent pharmacy in Brookline where I was a front store technician, a compounding technician, Assistant Student Manager, and a volunteer for a few community outreach programs. In years P3 and P4, I had both paid and volunteer teaching experiences in therapeutics classes and a pharmacy management course. I also participated in Lead360: Intergroup Dialogues through the NU Office of Student Activities, where I co-facilitated a seminar on diversity and equity.


What is your community service involvement?

One of my current projects is that I am working on a Public Service Announcement video on fall prevention in the elderly population in conjunction with a local independent pharmacy.


How frequently do you get to meet School of Pharmacy alumni?

Over the past year during clinical rotations, I have met and interacted with many School of Pharmacy alumni. Prior to rotations, I seldom met alumni.


Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Ten years from now, I hope to be a faculty member and have a position as a clinical pharmacist in the ambulatory care setting.


How do you plan to maintain a connection to Northeastern upon graduation?

Mainly through sports - I am a huge hockey fan!


What would you say to a student who is considering Northeastern?

Northeastern feels like a small town in a big city. There's a great sense of community and camaraderie, and there's always something to do. Five to six years may seem daunting, but it flies by. Northeastern is a blast!


What professor has made the biggest impact on you so far?

I have connected with many faculty and developed substantial mentor/mentee relationships with several professors, including Dr. Waszczak, Dr. Van Amburgh, Dr. Douglass, and Professor Brown, all within the School of Pharmacy, and then Chris McGill of Student Activities. The class that has made the most significant impact on my career path was Exploring Academic Life, taught by Dr. Van Amburgh and Dr. Gonyeau. We studied teaching methodology and were exposed to various aspects of being an academician. This course solidified my aspiration to be a professor.


What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not studying for classes?

Check out local music venues and go to live shows.


Which dorm did you live in freshman year? Any stories you can tell me?

Stetson West. Nope, anything that happens in Stetson stays in Stetson.


What is your favorite hang-out spot on campus?

The outdoor patio on top of Curry is a really nice place to grab lunch or study during the summer.

 


What is your favorite dining hall?

My favorite dining hall is Stetson West because of the stir fry!

 

A few words of advice:

Don’t take yourself too seriously.  :)


Contact Info

School of Pharmacy
140 The Fenway
Mailstop R218TF
Tel: 617.373.3380
Fax: 617.373.7655