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Student Spotlight: Alicia Tran, PharmD ‘21

Student Spotlight: Alicia Tran, PharmD

  • If you are looking to find Alicia Tran, PharmD on the MCPHS–Boston campus, you’ll probably find her meeting with residents on her floor. Or you might find her prepping for her next appointment as a Career Peer Adviser in Career Services. Or, she could be volunteering down the street at Boston Children’s Hospital.

    Alicia, who is a student in the Doctor of Pharmacy program, has a jam-packed schedule, filled with opportunities that are empowering her to gain the leadership experience she will need to succeed in her future career.

    Alicia’s dream role is to be a pediatric clinical pharmacist in a children’s hospital. But, she also has a passion for health education. One of the reasons she chose MCPHS was because she could add a Master of Public Health to her studies, giving her the skills and the knowledge she will need to make a difference.

    “I would love to use my education to help those in the community attain greater health and health education,” said Alicia.

    Alicia is already putting her passion for health education in action, having traveled to Haiti as part of a medical humanitarian trip. She is looking forward to returning to Haiti this summer.

    “I am currently a medical volunteer for the non-profit and medical humanitarian organization, Hands Up for Haiti, where I travel to Northern Haiti and help out in the medical clinics, as well as educate the people of Haiti in important health subjects such as newborn care and nutrition,” said Alicia.

    For Alicia, all of these experiences are part of a much bigger picture. “It would be awesome to one day be in a leadership role for a non-profit and go on multiple medical service trips using my pharmacy and public health knowledge,” said Alicia.

    In this interview, Alicia shares why she chose to come to the east coast for college and shares how she balances her studies with her many campus leadership positions.

    What helped you make the decision to come to Boston for school?

    What helped me make the decisions to come to Boston all the way from California is that Boston is a great place for college students. There are so many places to explore and different colleges nearby. And, there are lots of opportunities to get involved in one's passions at MCPHS. There are so many organizations and clubs that help make you feel welcome on campus and get to know the East Coast. For example, I paid less than thirty dollars to go to New York for the first time because of Campus Activities Board (CAB)!

    How have you taken advantage of our location in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area (LMA)?

    I love how MCPHS is in the Longwood Medical Area! I love being able to help out at the Teddy Bear Clinic and Pediatric Halloween Party at the Joslin Diabetes Center, as well as volunteer as an inpatient volunteer at the Boston Children's Hospital, two places that are so close to MCPHS and are walking distance.

    Why did you choose the PharmD program at MCPHS?

    I chose the PharmD program at MCPHS because I am very interested in how medications can affect the body and love how MCPHS provides the opportunity to earn a dual degree in a Master of Public Health through MCPHS Online.

    How did you know that a degree in pharmacy was the right choice for you?

    I knew that pharmacy was right for me because I am very detail-oriented and chemistry was one of my best classes in high school. As a future pharmacist, I want to be sure that my patients are receiving the correct medication and correct dosage to ensure that there are no medication errors.

    What is it about pharmacy that most excites you?

    What excites me about the pharmacy field is that I will be able to help people attain proper medication treatment and help ease their adjustment to medication through medication therapy management. I would love to be a pediatric clinical pharmacist and help provide medication advice to other healthcare professionals and families.

    Tell us about your experience in the PharmD program. What are your classes like?

    I have taken a lot of interesting classes such as Healthcare Humanities, Drugs and Behavior, Evolution of the Healthcare Professions, and Microbiology. There are definitely challenging classes in the pre-pharmacy years, such as Organic Chemistry and Physics, in my opinion. However, it is nice to have a balance of challenging classes and electives that help you see the more human side of healthcare, as you learn about things such as the importance of empathy and open-mindedness.

    What has been your favorite class or lab experience so far?

    My favorite class has been Microbiology because I love learning how certain diseases occur and how specific medications can alleviate these disease states. In addition, it relates a lot to Public Health and Dr. Barden makes learning Microbiology super interesting.

    What’s your biggest piece of advice for someone who is considering a future in the pharmacy field?

    My biggest advice for someone who is considering a future in the pharmacy field is to look into the different aspects of pharmacy. It is not simply standing behind a counter counting pills! There are so many avenues to go with in pharmacy, such as clinical pharmacy, industry pharmacy, and specializing in certain subjects such as solid organ transplant pharmacy and cardiology pharmacy.

    You are super involved on our Boston campus! With such a busy schedule, how do you get everything done?

    I do my best to get everything done by scheduling every hour of every day so that I know where I have to be or what I have to do. In addition, I have a planner that has my scheduled classes and responsibilities along with dates for events or programs. I am able to refer to my planner to ensure that I am not missing out on any events and programs.

    In your opinion, why is it important for students to be involved with activities outside of the classroom?

    It is important for students to be involved with activities outside the classroom because it allows them to learn how to apply their education in the real world, explore the different avenues of their major, and meet new people. I have been able to meet so many role models through APHA-ASP, FASCO, and Lambda Kappa Sigma. In addition, I have made such great friends by getting involved in activities such as being Orientation Leader and RA work. Getting involved keeps me motivated. Getting to spend time or work with different people is an incredible opportunity.

    At MCPHS, we truly have an immersive healthcare environment. What is it like to go to school in this type of environment?

    It is really cool to go to school with classmates from such a variety of health science programs because you are working with other future healthcare professionals and health-related or science-related experts and professionals. You get to hear perspectives from different types of people with different educational and cultural backgrounds. I think being exposed to these different perspectives from across the healthcare spectrum will definitely help make me a better future pharmacist.

    Describe MCPHS in your own words.

    What makes the MCPHS community special is that it has a diverse population and you get to meet people from all over the world. I am proud to go here because diversity is appreciated by the University and there are many opportunities to get involved, from joining a leadership organization, to traveling to Morocco for a medical service trip.

    The full-time, six year Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program on our Boston campus is direct entry and empowers students to begin successful and meaningful future careers in the pharmacy industry.