My first IPPE experience

David Profile Name PicBlog by David Sur

So, it just hit me that I’m done with my first year of pharmacy school! It has been some of the most fun I have ever had, though “fun” in the way that you run a Tough Mudder or “fun” in the way when you practice your music. It’s fun through accomplishment. All the stress and all the challenges have pushed me to become better and have helped me progress in understanding who I am and who I want to be.

One particular activity that really comes to mind in terms of my development as a pharmacist is my first-year IPPE (Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience) rotation, which is completed in a retail pharmacy setting. You know, the place where you think all the pharmacist does is put pills in a bottle (partly true)?

Key word: “partly”.

The genesis of my rotation was tough because everything was fresh like a raw kale salad: difficult to eat for the first time without dressing, but edible.  At first, I didn’t feel very comfortable starting out with such veterans as the current staff, nor did I know what my role in the pharmacy really was. Unlike many of my classmates who were licensed pharmacy technicians before coming to LLUSP, entering the pharmacy and having to do various duties without much prior experience made me feel like I was a newborn opening my eyes for the first time. Here is a sample scenario of my newbie experience:

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On Day 1, I was tasked to check expiration dates on medications and rubber band the “Return-To-Stock (RTS)” medications. I had no idea what RTS meant, so when told to consolidate the “RTS” bottles, I was so confused.

Later that same day, I was also told to refill a prescription and once again, felt somewhat lost. “So I click this, press Alt. What was it again? Oh no, go back, go back. Wait, which insurance again?” Those were some of my thoughts as I tried to troubleshoot my way through the new process.

What I want to share with you future P1s is that there is a gradual learning curve that you will eventually get over, with steady progression. You HAVE to overcome the curve and see the beauty in what you do, appreciate the work provided for you, FEEL the necessity of your duties and enjoy it. Optimism changes everything.

The best four ways that I believe a first-year pharmacy student can enhance development when they get into the pharmacy are:

  1. Be friendly and genuine with the staff—this can make or break your experience.
  2. Show your work ethic—do your work, and don’t complain. No one likes a whiner!
  3. Get to know your patients—everyone will have an experience being on that side of the pharmacy counter. Treat your patients like you would a friend.
  4. Stay curious—always wonder “Why?” It can be the catalyst for growth and change.

I want to be better, and daily strive to be better, because what we do every day is so far beyond the scope of ourselves.

My interactions with patients and coworkers have shaped my understanding of people and have humbled me to fully prepare myself academically. I find this to be critical in my development as a professional so that I can be competent and compassionate for the people I work with, as well as the people I work for. I want to be better, and daily strive to be better, because what we do every day is so far beyond the scope of ourselves.

LLUSP partners with Health Academy biotechnology students

Feature by Bernadette Malqued

What started off as a table lunch conversation has matured into the strong educational partnership in existence today between Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy and Indian Springs High School’s Health Academy. In the summer of 2012 during Loma Linda University’s first Excellence in STEM Experiential Education (EXSEED) program, Dr. Willie Davis struck a lunchtime conversation with the high school’s principal, Dr. Alan Kay, and Health Academy director, Mr. Brian Willemse, who had presented on their school’s program earlier in the day.

As chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical and Administrative Sciences, Dr. Davis saw potential for collaboration between LLUSP and the Health Academy, and discussed with them some ways the School of Pharmacy could be involved with getting ISHS students familiar learning with basic molecular laboratory techniques. The idea, Dr. Davis shares, was “that students would become employable” with the skills taught upon completion of the biotechnology program, which is part of the curriculum in the Health Academy.

In this particular program, junior and senior students take a year-long biotechnology sequence of courses in which they learn basic molecular biology techniques, including polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and gel electrophoresis.

Alongside serving on the board of the Academy, Dr. Davis coordinates the activities of the laboratory with the faculty and administration of ISHS, and has also designed the experiments and given lectures to the students. But he is quick to wholeheartedly acknowledge the extensive involvement of research assistant Sara Solak. “Our lab’s participation in the biotechnology program would not occur if it were not for the efforts of Sara,” he adds. “She works hard to train the students. She is the key to our success and deserves the overwhelming majority of the credit.”

Ms. Solak recently led the biotechnology program’s first cohort of five laboratory externship students this past Spring Break, and I was privileged enough to interview four of these senior scholars during their last day of externship (L-R): Justin Gutierrez, Jaylean Gonzales, Sara Solak, Roman Doranski, and Peter Rubalcava (Melissa Arellano not pictured).

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So what’s the biggest thing that you’ve taken away from the biotechnology program and your externship?

Roman: The lab experience. We’re doing experiments that people are doing in college, but we get to do them starting in 10th grade.

Peter: Learning. I love learning about all of this stuff and working in a lab; that’s what I want to do in the future. I’m going to major in biochemistry, so I might as well get a head start.

Jaylean: I think my greatest experience here was meeting two people who could be a part of your future. I knew I wanted to major in the sciences, and  I fell in love with the program. I’ve always wanted to be a medical student, and working in the lab, working with two people who push you to be something greater, it makes you want you to endure it even more because you appreciate that there are people out there who can help you.”

What was one of your favorite memories from this lab experience?

Roman: When I started realizing what was going on in the test tubes and everything just clicked together, like why we were doing our experiment and what we were getting out of it. I think that was a really cool moment. It was right before Research Day last year when we were having to understand our project so we could explain it to other people. Just going over it and practicing it, I really feel like I got it and was able to explain it.

Jaylean: My favorite memory was just holding the pipette for the first time. It was kind of uncomfortable at first, but I think once you get the hang of it, it feels really nice because you have a lot of control over how your results are going to end up. And then seeing those results pop up was like, “Wow, you did a good job pipetting. It’s like I’m amazing!”, you know?

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Peter: Well, for me it’s the knowledge gained. I love learning about what’s happening, why we’re doing this. I felt super excited when I saw my first DNA yield. It was really high and I was really happy about that. Science excites me.

Justin: Learning all the techniques was fun but I think the best memory for me would be when we had to present for the class. Our teacher Mr. Arient and Sara told us we had to present two different topics to the class, to the first-year students, and we would have to explain to them why we are taking this class. We had two weeks to do that, but through the process it gave me the experience to speak in front of people. Teaching a class was pretty fun.

How have you grown from Day 1 of being in lab to today?

Peter: I wasn’t really sure at first what I wanted to do in science. At first I thought it would be pharmaceuticals because I love the science world, but from the first day, I really loved this stuff. I loved pipetting, I love the techniques we do. So after this entire experience, I want to do clinical laboratory work, and more of this stuff. I’d love to work in a hospital and work as someone who works on what diseases you have. It’s really helped me discover what I really want to do.

Roman: Skill-wise, starting off in the beginning of class, I wasn’t lost, but I didn’t really know what we were doing, I was just following directions. But over time, I was able to look at the protocol and look at it and know exactly what I was going to do.

Jaylean: I think when I really knew when I grew up was just last week. I knew that over time we get better at what we do, and we know that we grasp the idea of how to do things, we know the procedure and processes. But I think when we really figured it out was when we had to do the experiments solo and we had to really test ourselves to see if we really did grasp everything that we learned. Sara really put us to the test. And our results were amazing. It was better than when we were in class. So I guess you could see we have learned to become more independent. I feel more mature just from this lab alone. You become more independent, self-aware of what you’re doing, what you want to do in life.

Justin: Being a third-year in the biotechnology program changed me skill-wise. I was terrible at pipetting and now we have some of the best technique. I also have grown in the area of public speaking, in teaching a class, and being able to be more open to things like Research Day presenting. Whether it’s the dean of the school, to other students, professors—I can talk to whomever now.

Do you have any parting words for Sara?

Justin: Sara’s an amazing teacher. I was glad to meet her because she’s such a kindhearted person. She’s like an older sister to me.

Jaylean: Today we asked Sara how long it has been since she started working at Loma Linda University and she said two-and-a-half years, roughly around the time we started the biotechnology program. When she barely got her job she started working with us immediately, so I think it was destiny. I’m so thankful she came to our school because I don’t think anyone would’ve put in the time and effort she does to explain, and explain again, and explain multiple times after that when we still don’t understand! But she does no matter what.

Roman: Thank you for helping make this understandable. You do a good job at teaching.

Peter: I know this was my first year, but I really appreciated the opportunity to come work with you guys. Sara has been an awesome person. She answers all of my questions even though I bug her a lot.

What can you say about this group of students, Sara?

Sara: I teach a lot of students. A lot of graduate students, a lot of undergraduate students. And these are probably the most dedicated and eager-to-learn students that I’ve ever met. They take everything in stride. They want to learn. They come at me with questions that I don’t even know the answer to, that I have to look up, but it’s really cool. It’s been a wonderful, wonderful experience. I’m just really thankful that Dr. Davis brought me on. Now they’re going off to college. I never thought the program would go this far and that it would spark this much interest in the students, so it’s really cool to see that they want to pursue science. And they know that science doesn’t always necessarily mean you have to go and be a physician. That there’s totally different avenues that you can have. I’m just happy I could share what I love.

And how have you changed?

Sara: I found out that I love teaching and I think that’s definitely something that’s going to be a part of my career in the future.

You’ve really seen the program grow from its inception to what it is now. What are your hopes for the program as it continues?

Sara: I hope that every year we have an incoming class of thirty students in Biotechnology I, and that those thirty students join Biotechnology II, to the point where I hope thirty students come intern, to the point where I can’t handle them just in one lab and that we need to incorporate more laboratories at Loma Linda University! I just hope it keeps progressing, progressing, progressing, and I hope I’m a part of it the whole time.

Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy’s 2nd Annual Research Day will be held on Thursday, May 19, 2016 from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in the Wong Kerlee Conference Center.

Alumni Profile: Alan Estareja

Feature by Bernadette Malqued

In high school varsity sports, springtime means tennis, and for Alan Estareja, Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy alumnus (Class of 2013) and Redlands High School Assistant Head Coach, that means it’s time do to some work.

On this mid-April afternoon, I watch as Alan and at least two dozen high school students jog and do drills out on the court—in 98-degree weather, no less. A rival team from Temecula is soon to arrive and Alan helps oversee that the team warms up by practicing their groundstrokes, volleys, and serves. As the clock ticks on, the thermostat climbs, but Alan and the team are still at it.

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It’s a full-circle moment for Alan, this year marking his second official coaching year for the Terriers’ varsity tennis team—one that he had played on as a high school student when he attended RHS.

As a varsity member, Alan helped his team win the California Interscholastic Federation Championship in 2004, which was the first championship their high school had ever won for tennis. He also won two individual junior tournaments, and at his highest, ranked 75 in Southern California as a junior. Later, at La Sierra University, he represented LSU as an inductee into the Riverside Sports Hall of Fame for the 2006 and 2008 seasons.

When you’ve played a sport since the age of 7, though, one can find it hard to leave completely behind. Despite his busy life during college and later in pharmacy school, Alan would still come back to his old high school and practice with the team, just for fun.

After graduating from LLUSP, he was able to spend more time helping out and saw the Terriers reach the CIF Finals in 2014.  With the acknowledgement and appreciation received from the team members, Alan decided to make it official the following year and become assistant head coach, a responsibility he juggles alongside his position as an outpatient pharmacist at Kaiser Permanente Riverside Medical Center.

I enjoy coaching because it fulfills my purpose to be of service to others, and allows me to experience the joy of helping others thrive.

“Having played tennis for so long, I felt that coaching was the optimal way to transform my life experiences into value for others,” Alan shares. “It’s a great way to express my passion for the sport and keep myself actively involved instead of just watching on the sideline. I enjoy coaching because it fulfills my purpose to be of service to others, and allows me to experience the joy of helping others thrive.”

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Another big reason why Alan volunteers his time in this way today is because of his own very first coach—his father, Renato. “The dedication and commitment that he showed to me in my tennis development are some of the reasons why I coach,” Alan says, and he hopes to help “inspire and motivate those around me the same way my father did.”

By now, a figuratively cool hour and a half has passed; the rival team has arrived and are dispersing on the unoccupied Terrier courts for their own warm-up. The temperature is nearing triple digits and it’s not even match time. I’m only sitting on a bench and I’m already sweating, so I can only imagine how brutal today’s match is going to be for Alan and his team. But I’m hopeful as I wave goodbye to the assistant head coach. I messaged Alan a few days later asking if his team won—they did.

Applying for Residency

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It’s just like applying to pharmacy school all over again, except now it can really determine your job, your career, and your geographical location for the next year or two. It’s an exciting, scary, and nerve-wracking experience, but going through the process with good friends who are all in the same boat really helps getting through it easier. You have their support and advice when there are things about the process you are unsure of. They are also there for you when you travel to all the conferences and looking back, those were some of my favorite memories of pharmacy school.

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The best advice I have for any student who is interested in a residency is to utilize your resources! There are so many resources and people to help you through the process here at Loma Linda. We are blessed with having wonderful faculty, many of whom have gone through the residency process at least once or twice and are now residency coordinators for some of our own programs. They have a wealth of knowledge about the application process and have tips and advice to help you along the way as well.

Going into the interviews, I prepared as much as I could but I also wanted to be relaxed and to be myself. So I was professional in my behavior but I also threw in a few jokes and laughs because that’s usually how I interact with most people. I figured if they like me, then they like me. If not, then I wasn’t meant to be there. What people say is true about matching with a residency program: it’s a one-year relationship. You have to like them and they have to like you, or else working there will be miserable. If they don’t think your true personality matches with their culture, then don’t feel bad they didn’t match with you. That was the mindset I went into every interview with. I just tried really hard to be myself, which isn’t hard to do at all!

Once you are done with interviews, you then have to sit down and make the hard decision of which programs to rank. People try to outsmart the system but I don’t think you can. Things happen for a reason so you have to match with your heart and be at peace with your decision. I changed my rank order quite a few times before I submitted my final list. In the end, I followed my heart and ranked based on what I felt was best for me at that time not knowing how any of the other programs ranked me. If things don’t work out, it is not the end of the world (believe it or not). Just have a Plan B and if you are serious about completing a residency, there is no harm in applying the following year. By then you will have much more experience to bring to the game.

I am very excited for the journey ahead of me. I don’t know where exactly it will take me, but I’m going into it expecting to get a lot out of the next year.

I honestly did not even think about The Match afterwards. Once I submitted my final list, I closed my laptop and went to bed. The night before the match results were revealed, I had no problems falling asleep and didn’t even set an alarm. I was actually woken up by a text message asking me if I had matched. That was when I checked and was relieved to find out that I had matched to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center! I took a deep breath, processed what had just happened, and went back to sleep. I am very excited for the journey ahead of me. I don’t know where exactly it will take me, but I’m going into it expecting to get a lot out of the next year.

I hope this has helped most of you get an idea of what to expect when it comes to applying for residency. I encourage everyone to go out there and talk to other people who went through the process as the experience is a little different from person to person. Overall, it was a fun, yet stressful experience and I tried to not let it psych me out too much. Applying for residency is also a very humbling process. Egos will be damaged, so do not take anything for granted. It takes a great amount of dedication throughout your pharmacy school career to get there. So remember, hard work pays off! 

Faculty Spotlight: Nancy Kawahara

Interview with Nancy Kawahara by Scotty Ray

Every so often we get the opportunity to sit down and chat with a faculty, staff, or administration member of LLUSP to better get to know them. This month we are excited to feature Nancy Kawahara, PharmD, MSEd—Associate Dean for Assessment and Professional Affairs.

What’s your name and what do the students call you?

My name is Nancy Kawahara and “Kawahara” is not hard to spell, but it’s a little bit on the long side so I always refer to myself as Dr. K—that’s pretty much what the students call me as well. I inherited by marriage the Japanese last name. It’s always fun to go to the doctor for the first time when they come out to call your name and they’re expecting a Japanese woman to get up.

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What’s your position here at LLUSP?

My position is the Associate Dean for Assessment and Professional Affairs. What that translates to is I’m responsible and have administrative oversight for the assessment activities. I also have the student professional organizations, so two very different kinds of responsibilities.

What’s something unique about you that most people don’t know?

My first job in high school was as Boysen Bear at Knott’s Berry Farm. I had the experience of running around in a character costume for about a year and a half. It was an opportunity to act and nobody knew who I was in that thing so I could pretty much do whatever I wanted without being embarrassed. It was a fun, cool experience for a job out of high school. I was in a commercial because they made one using the characters there. Ironically enough my husband’s youngest sister did commercials when she was little and actually auditioned for that commercial. She didn’t get the role but we came that close to actually having an interaction before we ever met in pharmacy school.

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What are some of your hobbies?

I haven’t had a lot of time to do anything but work and be a mother for quite a while now. I do enjoy crocheting. I exercise a lot, so I’m at the gym almost every day; I kind of feel lost when I’m not there. I mainly do the aerobics stuff. I don’t run; I’m getting a little too old for that.

I’ve felt my whole life that I’m a little too old for running. I’ll run if I’m chasing a ball or a bear is chasing me, but otherwise, why am I running?

It was never one of my favorites. I went through a phase in my early college years where I would go and run the track. I do stuff now like the elliptical, the bike, or I walk on the treadmill.

What do you enjoy making when you do have time to crochet?

I went through a phase in life where I made blankets for almost everybody I knew so my parents have a blanket, my sister has a blanket, my in-laws have a blanket, and both of my kids have crocheted baby blankets that I did. Blankets are my kind of specialty and I’d like to get back into doing more of it.

Where did you go to college?

I went to UC Santa Barbara to do my pre-pharmacy work. It was hard to leave as it was a very nice college environment to be in. I came down to USC to finish my PharmD and stayed on to do a residency and fellowship with a focus in teaching. I finished my residency and then completed a masters in education there in 1986. Fairly early on I decided I could really impact more patients by training pharmacists than by being a clinical pharmacists myself because my reach goes beyond simply what I can provide by training other people to do that job. I also did all the coursework for a PhD in educational psychology when I was at the University of Illinois, but kids came along and life happened so I never actually finished that degree.

What influenced you to pick pharmacy?

My mother was a nurse educator so I’m sure that impacted me in some ways. I certainly respected what my mother did and I watched how she interacted with students. For whatever reason, mothers who are nurses really want their daughters to be nurses as well and that was not for me. I mean, I had absolutely no interest in becoming a nurse. She actually helped me chose pharmacy. She did some interaction with the pharmacists in the places she took her students and she said, “You should think about pharmacy.” I think going into the academic side of pharmacy is sort of a way to honor her without becoming a nurse. As a resident, I had a lot of opportunities to interact with students as a mentor, educator, instructor kind of role and I liked it.

What dream do you have that you haven’t yet accomplished?

I’m pretty happy with where I’ve ended up in life. I would like to do more traveling. I’m hoping that when I actually do retire that I’m in good enough health, good enough physical condition and have the finances to actually do more of that.

Are there any places in particular that you have in mind?

My husband and I have talked quite a bit about going to Japan and we haven’t done that yet. We were all geared up to go when my oldest graduated from high school back in 2012 and, of course, that’s when they had the massive earthquake and all the nuclear debris so that wasn’t a good time to go. It just so happened that he started college and the college band was going to the UK the following summer, so we tagged along on that one. Japan is a place I’d like to go and see. It’s not my individual heritage—it’s 50% for my kids and I’ve grown up most of my adult life in that kind of culture with the Japanese.

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How many kids do you have?

I have two boys. My oldest, Troy, is 21 and my youngest, Kent, is 18. They’re both still in college; Troy will graduate this year. They’re both at the same institution: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Troy is studying civil engineering and Kent is studying computer sciences.

What is your claim to fame?

I would define that as something I’m extremely proud of with my endeavors in life. When I as at the University of Illinois, I had the opportunity to design a lab-related pharmacy practice course. It was complex because there were 125 or 130 students, and trying to make that all come together without double-booking people is where I really learned that I had the skills to do that very well. It was a course that developed a reputation as being fun but hard, and it lived on after I was there. I think it gave students some skills that they wouldn’t have otherwise.

What do you like most about the School of Pharmacy here at Loma Linda?

Within the internal faculty, I’ve been here the longest. I started here at Loma Linda just about a month before the first group of students walked in to start courses. I think that when I compare my experiences here to other places that I’ve worked, it’s very much the people. It’s a family—it’s just sort of the mindset that we’re here to help one another. We respect and go out of our way sometimes to do something positive for other people, whereas in many other big institutions you don’t really find that. You find it’s like every man for himself and trying to make sure you get what you need is the priority, and I don’t get that sense here. We’ve created that culture by not curving the grade. Everybody can get an A or everybody can fail. It’s to your benefit to help each other; there’s no downside to that.

How would you describe yourself in three words?

Dedicated, working mother. I would say that because I’ve had the privilege over the last 21 years of being a full-time mom but at the same time trying to balance a full-time professional career. It takes dedication to both areas.

What’s your favorite quote?

“Believe you can and you are half-way there.” –Theodore Roosevelt

Year 2 & Summer Recap

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The end of the 2014/2015 school year was a busy one – finishing up all of the exams, projects, and presentations was hard work! The hard work paid off and a three month break was ahead of me. I was excited to go home to Pennsylvania to spend time with my family and get a break from the busy schedule here at the School of Pharmacy.

My favorite aspect of the PY2 year is that we really dove head first into therapeutics classes where we focused on disease states and their drug management. I felt like I was starting to really learn the things I came to pharmacy school for. My most challenging time during the 2014/2015 school year was probably the spring quarter. During the spring quarter I took an elective called Medical Mission Prep (which I highly recommend to everyone!) and I had my hospital rotation. With the old scheduling scenario, the hardest quarter for most of us is the quarter that we have our rotation. It was an extremely busy quarter with little down time.

As I mentioned earlier, I went home to Harrisburg, PA for the summer. I worked 40 hours a week for a majority of the summer in the pharmacy of a northeastern grocery chain called Giant Food Stores. In June, I took a week off and spent it in Wenatchee, Washington with my girlfriend who just recently graduated from the dental hygiene program here at Loma Linda University. Wenatchee is her hometown and we spent the week hiking, biking, and spending time with her family. I also spent a day in Seattle were we visited Pikes Place on the oceanfront. Seattle was an interesting city and far different than the east coast cities I have been too. I don’t know too much about art but I could definitely tell that art is a distinctive aspect to the identity of Seattle.

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In July, I went to Romania as a medical missionary with a group of 17 students from our school of pharmacy and a professor. The trip was over the span of week and we set up clinics in the town of Adjud and Jilava, Romania. As students we performed physical exams, aided physicians in the diagnostic process, and furnished medications that were donated by the LLUMC. During a typical day we would set up clinic at around 9am, see about 90 patients until 8pm, and then go into the village and provide food and clothes to those who expressed a need at the clinic. We also prayed and sang songs. The people were so grateful for our service! God moved in a mighty way while we cared for these patients. I highly recommend going on any sort of mission trip; this changed my outlook on life and I realized we are truly blessed by God to be living in America. To finish off the summer, my girlfriend came to visit my family and me for a week.

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In terms of the PY3 year that awaits me, I am pretty excited about what God has in store for my future. I’m excited to learn and grow in the field of pharmacy. It would be nice to have more time to relax but I am ready to get this year under way. One year closer to the goal… GRADUATION!!!

Pharmacy = Magic

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My full name is Syndy Rielle Pasco Malit. My siblings and I use our mother’s maiden name as our middle name. Once I get married, my middle name will become Malit instead of Pasco and I will take up the last name of my husband. My dad always wanted a daughter named Cindy, short for Cinderella, I may be no princess but I sure am spoiled! Rielle is short for Gabrielle (my grandfather), so you pronounce it Re-El. I’ve never had an official nickname, but most people just call me whatever they first think of when they meet me: “Pikachu”, “Synderz”, “Syn”, “Hey”; as long as I know it’s me you’re referring to, I pretty much respond to anything.

When people as “Where are you from?” it’s always a fun question for me. I usually use it as an icebreaker because not many people get it right when they see me in person. One of my closest friends in pharm school, who I saw every day for six months, didn’t realize my ethnicity until I overheard her telling our other friend that she thought I was Japanese. Fun fact: I’m not Japanese. I’m lighter skinned than most other people in my race, and my eyes are rounder than usual. Depending on how I dress and style my hair, I can pass off as different races.
Hint 1: It’s the last ethnicity you would think of.
Hint 2: My national dress is made from pineapples.
Hint 3: If you can figure out what race my last name belongs to you pretty much have a solid idea.

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My family includes my father’s parents, my parents, my three siblings and I bring the total to eight. You know when you’re having a party when all you hear is laughing. Our favorite past time is eating food and watching crime shows. Even thought my sister is away to Japan teaching English, we talk to her every day. I really admire my mother because she works nights at the NICU, comes home and eats breakfast, sleeps maybe five hours and then does the house chores: laundry, cooking cleaning, you name it and she has it done.

I have three siblings; two sisters and one brother. My eldest sister, Krystl, is married and had her first kid earlier this year. He is the most adorable kid in the world (this is a very unbiased statement). My second sister, Xyryl, has been out in Japan for the past two years teaching English. My older brother, Zzyzx, started the MedTech program here at Loma Linda. We’re probably the best definitions of those kid personalities: the first is the wisest, the middle child is always picked on, and the youngest is spoiled. My brother’s the favorite because he’s the only son.

Let’s get to the exciting part; all of us have the coolest names (still an unbiased statement). Alright, alright, so I have to give some credit to my parents they have pretty awesome ideas. Krystl is probably the easiest to explain, just take out the ‘a’ in Krystal. Xyryl is like Cyril but her name is in relation to my cousin Xyriz. Now for my brother’s name, my dad was driving to Vegas, saw the road, bam! My name doesn’t really have much history. My dad wanted a daughter named Cindy, but he took out all the vowels.

As far as hobbies, I like to sleep; A LOT. But I also like reading manga and watching anime; anything that takes my mind off of the real world for just a few minutes. Sometimes I just need a breather from all the stress. My friends and I are also avid Disneyland goers; if I’m not in class or studying, I am there. I used to play the piano from elementary to tenth grade. I lost all my talent, please don’t ask me to play. I played for concerts, competitions, and recitals. I also played tennis in high school, probably the only physical activity I am willing to do.

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I went to California State University San Bernardino and majored in Chemistry with an emphasis on Biochemistry. I stayed close to home and I had a full-ride scholarship; it was probably the most fun in school I ever had. (pharmacy school is becoming a contender to this statement!) I met life-long friends. I think it comes from the high level stress that bonds you more closely with your classmates. I was teaching a supplemental course for general chemistry and calculus, doing research for my Biochemistry professor, and studying for my four exit exams (you can’t get a BS in biochemistry without passing four out of five exit exams, you’ll just get a BA).

Because my college had a sister school in Korea, we had a lot of Korean students that transferred over. I met some of my best friends because of this and even took two years of Korean from their influence. One of my summers I signed up to teach English in Korea and experienced a different country all by myself. Best. Life. Experience.

During the end of my third year in undergrad I applied to LLUSP (it was my dream school) and by the beginning of my fourth year I scored an interview. Medicine is the most fascinating thing. For me, it’s the closest thing to tangible magic and miracles. It’s a beautiful thing; you take a drug and later that day your sufferings are lessened. So I wanted to learn why a small pill can change how you feel, what does it do in your body, why does it work? So the easy thing to do was sign up for pharmacy school and look for my answers.

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I have been living here in Loma Linda since 1998 because of the job my mom has at the NICU for LLU Children’s Hospital. Sometimes I had to wait at the hospital until my dad came home from work; being in that environment caused me to admire the area. I wanted to be part of this staff, I wanted to be part of their education, and I wanted to be part of Loma Linda.