Wilkes University

Prescription for a Balanced Life

Pharmacy student Zara Mirza combines the perfect dose of small-campus life with career-building opportunities.

When Zara Mirza of Rome, New York, first visited Wilkes, a pharmacy professor stepped up to show her around when a student tour guide wasn’t available. She found that going beyond what’s expected is the norm for Wilkes faculty.

Zara

Mirza earned a guaranteed seat in Wilkes’ six-year doctor of pharmacy program, which includes two years of pre-pharmacy study followed by four years of pharmacy school. An honors student, she made her first friends on campus in that program. “I made lifelong friends in the honors program. The honors program gave me an opportunity to challenge myself more, not just take the easy road.”

As a member of the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists, Mirza chairs an effort to educate local elementary school students about the safe use and storage of over-the-counter medicines. She also served as her class secretary. “I can participate in student government and work on events the whole campus gets to enjoy.”

Mirza looks to Kim Ference, associate professor of pharmacy practice, for an example of how to balance pharmacy and life. “Seeing all the things she does, she’s a good motivator to be more than just a good student. She makes me want to be more well-rounded.”

For Ference, supporting students is all part of life as a faculty member. She embraces her role as a mentor, offering guidance in the classroom, at her office, or in the stands at a campus sporting event. “It’s really important to be approachable. I want students to feel comfortable coming to me with questions.”

Now a third-year pharmacy student, Mirza considers life after Wilkes, interacting with patients in both hospital and community pharmacy settings through internships with Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare and CVS Health. “I know I want to be in a field of pharmacy where I can talk to patients.”

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