“Being part of a professional fraternity allowed me to come out of my shell and be the best version of myself, both personally and professionally during pharmacy school.”

Drawn to a career in healthcare and seeking an accelerated program, Dr. Inna Tagarino joined APEx with the intent to bridge into the PharmD program.

APEx, Chapman University’s pre-pharmacy program, is a two-year accelerated undergraduate degree substitute for students looking to pursue their PharmD. APEx’s built in mentor/mentee program between first-year and second-year students was a staple of success, as well as support from her faculty advisor.

“Being an APEx is already accelerated in nature because you get all of your prerequisites done in 2 years as opposed to your typical 4. I think the program did a great job at preparing us for the academic challenges of pharmacy school.”

During their second year, APEx students are allowed to rush for a pharmacy fraternity. “I hesitated in joining a professional pharmacy fraternity because I didn’t think ‘Greek life’ was for me,” she says, but her mind began to chance once she began to learn what professional  offered. “After meeting people in Kappa Psi and learning more, I knew it was something that I would love to be a part of. Joining as an APEx student allowed me to meet so many people who were already at CUSP, so by the time I started the PharmD program I was already so comfortable and highly motivated to be involved in various opportunities.”

“The biggest reason why I joined Kappa Psi was because it was important for me to have a strong support system throughout pharmacy school,” Dr. Tagarino says. Because of Kappa Psi (KΨ), Dr. Tagarino found extra support through all aspects of student life- From studying for IEs, always having friendly faces in classes, fitting into networks at pharmacy conferences, as well as provide social outlets both internal to CUSP students as well as social opportunities with brothers from other pharmacy schools.

The support she found in her fraternity only encouraged her to become more involved in the greater CUSP community and across Rinker’s campus. During her time as a PharmD student, she served in several leadership positions including Public Relations and Historian of CUSP’s CSHP/ASHP chapter. “One of my favorite memories was producing and directing CUSP’s submission for the 2022 CSHP Music Video Competition! I was so amazed by the amount of support and participation, and even Dean Ostrom joined in dancing to our rendition of ‘Finesse’. I was happy that everyone was able to have fun in a creative outlet, and it was the cherry on top that the music video won and we brought home another win too!”

Fueled by school spirit, Dr. Tagarino was the kind of student that was everywhere, all the time, whose smile and energy quickly became recognizable throughout Rinker campus. Inna served as a Student Ambassador for CUSP events, where her radiant energy made guests to campus feel at home. “I love being able to share my experiences to prospective students during interview days and recruitment events as a Student Ambassador,” she says. While Dr. Tagaino always welcomed guests to campus, she gave the same energy into incoming students as she grew into her second and third year as a PharmD student. “I also love being able to share my experiences with people in the classes below me and I always encourage getting as involved as you can because there are so many amazing opportunities at CUSP!”

One of her most coveted positions at Chapman University serving as her fraternity’s 2nd Vice Regent, which heads recruitment and pledging. “It was my responsibility to host events for students to meet the current brothers and learn about the fraternity. I loved holding this position because I was able to share with everyone why I joined KΨ and how much I love it.” During her time as 2nd Vice Regent, she recruited over 35 new students and faculty members into KΨ. “I am so proud of my fraternity and thankful for everything it has given me, and I was honored to be the person who was able to showcase what KΨ is to those who were interested in joining.”

Dr. Tagarino encourages any interested in joining a fraternity during pharmacy to pursue it. “Anytime you join a professional fraternity, doors open for you because there is a huge network of people to connect with. While I’ve only been part of KΨ, other pharmacy fraternities carry similar value and offer benefits for professional and personal networking in and out of the classroom, even after graduation as a practicing pharmacist,” Dr. Tagarino says. “At every rotation and every professional conference I’ve been to, I’ve met at least 1 brother of Kappa Psi and there’s a shared connection and respect you have for each other even if that’s the first time you’re meeting. I also love running into brothers from other schools at professional conferences; it’s comforting that I’ll always find a familiar face anywhere I go.”

In the same way Dr. Tagarino has watched peers before her graduate, the time has come for her to join their legacy and enter the next chapter. “I can genuinely say that KΨ brothers are my best friends. As I reflect on my time at Chapman, it’s bittersweet to think about everyone moving on to pursue their dreams. One day I was watching the brothers in the classes above me match to their dream programs and jobs. Before I knew it, it was the class of 2024’s turn to celebrate.”

What’s next for Dr. Tagarino? “I am happy to share that I have matched to the County of Santa Clara Health System PGY-1 Residency Program and will be an ambulatory care resident upon graduation! My ultimate career goal is to become an ambulatory care pharmacist so I am incredibly thankful and excited for this opportunity.”