May 2, 2013

Student Profile – Brandi Hamilton ’14

Brandi Hamilton - use2

Hometown: Jonesboro, Ark.
Undergraduate major/university: Bachelor of Fine Arts – Theatre /Arkansas State University & pharmacy prerequisites/University of Central Arkansas

Background & Reason for Choosing Pharmacy
My background is heavy in the arts (vocal & instrumental music and theater).  I worked as a pharmacy technician in college and later resumed this type of work after completing my degree, finding that I had a certain aptitude for the work.  I felt I was at a standstill on my career path and ultimately decided to pursue a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

Choosing UAMS & Opportunities It Provides
Initially, the primary deciding factor was geographical.  I learned later what an exceptional reputation UAMS College of Pharmacy has throughout the country. UAMS has an exceptionally strong and successful APhA-ASP chapter that provides financial reimbursement to assist with student pharmacists’ travel to meetings.  At these meetings, I was inspired to get involved with our chapter and, ultimately, with APhA-ASP on the national level.

I now serve as the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) National President. Due to my involvement with political advocacy, the College of Pharmacy sent me to Washington, DC to represent the college at RxImpact Day, an event that gives student pharmacists the opportunity to make Capitol Hill visits to advocate for the profession of pharmacy to our legislators.

Plans after Graduation
I have a very specific “perfect world” career scenario, which includes working in association management.

Advice for Prospective Students
It is important to start developing yourself as a professional early.  Maturity and communication skills are essential for success as a student pharmacist and as a practitioner.  Be aware that pharmacy is a very small world and that bridges burned are quite difficult to rebuild.  Where one typically hears about six degrees of separation, pharmacy has about two degrees.  After admission, take advantage of networking opportunities, such as the APhA-ASP Midyear Regional Meetings and the APhA Annual Meeting and Exposition, and leadership opportunities, remembering that leadership isn’t necessarily about a title.

Something That Surprised You About Pharmacy School
The most surprising thing I have found since starting pharmacy school is the expansive array of areas of practice.  The typical view of the pharmacist behind a counter in the community or in a hospital is merely the tip of the iceberg.