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Sarah Wenzel

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Bio

I have recently been accepted to the University of California- San Diego for the PharmD (doctor of pharmacy) program. I graduated with my B.S. in Neuroscience and minor in Chemistry in May of 2023, and will begin my first quarter of pharmacy school in September of 2024 My interest in healthcare began in 2014 when my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. I spent my time in high school visiting and caring for her, which later inspired me to pursue medicine during my time in University. In college I worked as a medications technician for about a year before transitioning to train as a pharmacy technician at the local community pharmacy in Reno. In my spare time I also volunteer with St. Vincent’s homeless shelter which prepares and delivers hot meals to those in need. I love this organization because of the community it provides, serving people of all backgrounds and employing many individuals with a love for helping others. I want to make a difference in the field of pharmacy, specifically in reference to access to healthcare. Many times both in senior care and pharmacy I witnessed individuals struggle to obtain the treatment they needed due to physical, emotional, or financial barriers. Through my education and passion for helping my community, I aim to help make a difference one day.

Education

University of California-San Diego

Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)
2024 - 2028
  • Majors:
    • Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Administration

University of Nevada-Reno

Bachelor's degree program
2018 - 2024
  • Majors:
    • Neurobiology and Neurosciences

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Administration
  • Planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Pharmaceuticals

    • Dream career goals:

      Advocate for affordable healthcare and medications for patients in need

    • Caregiver

      Home instead
      2022 – 20231 year
    • math tutor/instructor

      Mathnasium
      2024 – Present6 months
    • Pharmacy Technician

      Northern Nevada Medical Center
      2023 – Present1 year
    • Pharmacy Technician

      VA Hospital - Reno, NV
      2023 – 20241 year
    • Pharmacy Technician

      Walmart Pharmacy
      2021 – 20232 years
    • Lead Medications Technician

      Clearwater Senior Assisted living and Memory Care
      2020 – 20211 year

    Sports

    Basketball

    Varsity
    2014 – 20184 years

    Awards

    • all team - honorable mention
    • team captain

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Quail Gardens — Visitor
      2015 – 2018
    • Volunteering

      Immunize Nevada — Volunteer and advocate
      2022 – 2024
    • Volunteering

      Hope Hospice — Sit with hospice patients and spend time with them
      2018 – 2018
    • Volunteering

      St Vincents — Food preparation and server
      2022 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Politics

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    Bulchand and Laxmi Motwani Memorial Scholarship
    My grandparents immigrated to the United States from Poland during the 1960s to start a family. After surviving WWII they were determined to build a better life for our family, away from the fears of war and antisemitism they had been surrounded by. My grandmother was a significant part of my life, initially because upon immigrating to America she completed the education to become a neonatal nurse for Kaiser, Walnut Creek. As a little girl, I was inspired by her story and dreamt of following in her footsteps to pursue a healthcare career one day. In 2014 my grandmother, one of my most powerful female role models, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. At 14 I could not comprehend how her diagnosis would all but consume my future goals. By 2016 she was moved into a care home and our relationship shifted significantly, and rather than my grandmother babysitting me it seemed the roles had reversed. I would visit her at least once a week after school to talk with her and provide some company in her quiet care home. As time passed, she slowly forgot my face, and it hurt to remind her who I was when I walked into her room. At 16 I struggled to understand the damning experience of Alzheimer's; it means mourning a loved one while they are still alive. Some days it was sweet when she told me I looked like her granddaughter or almost called me the right name. On other days she would lash out, angrily swinging her cane at me or demanding that I take her home; reasoning with her was out of the question. The hardest was when I would get up to leave, and she would beg me to take her with me because she didn't want to be alone. As difficult as losing a loved one to Alzheimer's disease is, it ignited a passion for healthcare within me. Alzheimer's is a unique degenerative disease in that it appears differently depending on the person experiencing it. For some, it's the complete loss of verbal communication or violent mood swings. Others may experience severe memory loss with glimpses of consciousness among the fog. I was intrigued by the variation in symptoms from patient to patient and pursued a part-time job in senior care to apply my interest. I spent a summer volunteering with hospice patients and building on my understanding of Alzheimer's disease. Some patients would stay silent as I read books, others would reflect on pieces of memories and I would encourage them to continue as best they could. This led to a career as a medication technician in a senior home, where I cared for several patients during graveyard shifts. From my experiences with my grandmother and other hospice patients, I knew how to communicate with patients in the memory ward to take their medications and coax them back to bed late at night. By the end of 2021, my grandmother passed from a long battle with COVID-19. After her passing I wanted to work beyond senior care, I wanted a career that I could make a potential difference for those suffering as my grandmother had. This was the point I decided to turn my attention to pharmacy. Pharmacy is ever-changing and innovating to find the cure for the incurable. New medications such as Leqembi offer new hope for treating one of the top 10 deadliest diseases in the world. From my experience with my grandmother to my dedication to the workplace, I am determined to make a lasting difference in the pharmaceutical field.
    Dr. Sami Shafiq-Barker Memorial Scholarship
    After working in pharmacy for 3 years, I have heard countless disparaging opinions surrounding the field. A pharmacist had once explained to me that 20 years ago pharmacists were the "men in the basement," who approved orders and never saw the hospital floor. They have substantial medical training, yet were treated as less than their medical counterparts. I've had pharmacists in both clinical and retail settings try to dissuade me from pursuing pharmacy due to the unfair treatment and burnout experienced early into their careers. While healthcare as a field is slowly improving for pharmacists, to best give back to future students I plan to advocate for fair and equal treatment of pharmacists; both clinical and community. As an incoming pharmacy student, I see a field full of opportunities. Pharmacists are now employed in clinics, walking hospital floors, and personally speaking with patients. This hands-on approach allows pharmacists to apply their extensive knowledge in a setting they feel passionate about. Advocating for more opportunities for clinical pharmacists to collaborate with other medical staff ensures comprehensive treatment and improves career-oriented fulfillment. In community pharmacies, improving the workplace status quo for future students means advocating for fair employment conditions for employees. I have met countless burnt-out, overworked community pharmacists who have been forced to cover up to 16-hour shifts several times a week due to staffing shortages and unfair workload expectations. Improving the workplace conditions now is the best way to give back to our pharmacy students of the future.