Self-described as someone with a passionate mind, Adaeze “Ada” Anthony-Wise didn’t foresee herself pursuing pharmacy in high school. Even though she had fantastic grades, high levels of extracurricular involvement, and was well-liked by her teachers, she was “quite disillusioned by the idea of having to sort out my career at the age of 17.”

In her high school years, Ada’s mother was pursuing her PharmD and introduced her to Chapman University’s Accelerated Pre-Pharmacy Experience program (APEx). Formerly known as the Freshman Early Assurance Program (FEAP), Ada saw an opportunity to be exposed to a wide array of experiences that Chapman had to offer. After speaking with a Chapman representative and chatting with her school’s guidance counselor, she realized she had been presented with a “unique, once-in-a-lifetime academic experience. In deciding to move forward with this program, I leaned into a self-administered grace and reminded myself that if I did not enjoy the experience, I had the freedom to pivot into a different space.”

“Cut to my freshman year of Chapman University- I met so many wonderful people, created wonderful memories and true, lifelong companionship. And to top it all off, I thoroughly enjoyed and learned so much from my pre-pharmacy classes! It was a wonderful mix of social and academic euphoria.” While at Chapman, Ada was able to continue to pursue her “zest for life”- Anything fine arts related, Ada lived for. “I loved going to shows with my friends during my undergrad years. I got to see musician Jon Batiste perform live, watched the play Avenue Q, and experienced a live orchestra production of Beauty and the Beast!” The APEx program was a perfect fit for Ada, allowing her to pursue her PharmD while also benefiting her with world-class live entertainment and story-telling opportunities.

Each week, APEx brought in a guest speaker to speak about their experience as a pharmaceutical professional, which played a pivotal role in exposing Ada to the many avenues she could pursue as a Doctor of Pharmacy. She realized pharmacists didn’t only exist in retail settings, but played crucial roles in hospitals, ambulatory clinics and emergency rooms. “I think the notion that pharmacists only work in retail exists in the first place because most people’s frame of reference is the community pharmacist at CVS or Walmart. However, in working in various settings, I have witnessed the expansive nature of a pharmacist’s role,” Ada explains. “As drug experts, the impact that pharmacists make within care teams in clinical spaces serves as a critical guide in therapeutic decision-making.”

About to graduate, Ada has found the in-field rotation experience through CUSP irreplaceable learning experiences. In her APPE rotations, which occur in the final year of pharmacy school, she has had the opportunity to work in almost all aspects as an intern pharmacist. “I have found that a pharmacist’s insight is greatly valued and sought after on clinical care teams. Patients also get the opportunity to interact with pharmacists in these settings for education of their medications. I believe that pharmacists’ consistent interactions with people in the community is helping to reveal the array of responsibilities we have in healthcare.”

So, what’s next for Ada? Likely a fellowship with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “I hope to continue to grow my knowledge and experience in pharmacovigilance, drug safety, and regulatory affairs. However, at the end of the day I believe that life is a journey, and I look forward to embracing every opportunity that comes my way with an eager and open mind.”

Ada can be found on LinkedIn.