2020 Grad Profile: Bachelor Program Preps Future Pharmacist

May 14, 2020

Samantha Dando is among the first to earn a Bachelor of Science in pharmaceutical sciences.


The College of Pharmacy started a new undergraduate degree program that will see its first class don their mortarboards this year. Samantha Dando is part of the first class to graduate from the college with a Bachelor of Science in pharmaceutical sciences.

She shared her perspective on the program and how she plans to use it to propel her next steps.

What inspired you to pursue a degree in pharmaceutical sciences?
I always had an interest in how medicine works, which made me decide to pursue pharmacy, as pharmacists have a unique view on medicine – working from the chemical/molecular level. I knew the pharmaceutical sciences catered toward exactly these interests and would prepare me properly for pharmacy school.

What are your plans for after graduation?
I plan to continue my pharmacy education next fall at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy. I am very interested in emergency medicine pharmacy as well as toxicology, but I am excited to see what other fields interest me throughout my journey in pharmacy school.

You are part of the first ever Bachelor of Science in pharmaceutical sciences class to graduate from this college. How does it feel to know you are a part of the college’s history?
Honestly, it feels like an honor and a huge accomplishment to be part of the BSPS program’s first graduating class. Going into the major, none of us really knew what to expect, so the journey was a giant learning experience for our class, as well as for our professors. I actually really enjoyed being a “guinea pig” for the program, working with our professors to ensure this major would succeed for future classes.

Dando’s advice: During times like these it’s easy to dwell on the negative, but please don’t forget to care for yourself and your mental health, keep in touch with your loved ones (from a safe distance) and maybe pick up a new hobby. Although we’re apart now, we’ll get through this together!

What was your favorite memory from school?
There are way too many good memories to choose from in this entire experience, but by far I have most enjoyed the close relationships I have formed with my peers as well as our professors. Before I switched majors, I really never had the chance to get to know anyone in my classes, but now it is so refreshing to be able to walk into a classroom of friendly faces who you keep regular contact with in and out of the classroom setting. Our small class of seniors actually feels like a small family, which is something I never would have expected to say in a huge college setting. Attending events for the College of Pharmacy is so enjoyable, especially when you get the chance to chat with past professors over a good charcuterie board.

Do you have any advice for students who may be thinking about getting a degree in pharmaceutical sciences?
Even if you are not pursuing pharmacy as a career, definitely consider this major, as you get a unique perspective on how medicines affect the body at the molecular and physiologic level. If you are pursuing pharmacy as a career, this major will prepare you the best for what’s to come in pharmacy school. Every person you meet in the degree program, from your advisors to your professors, have your success as their number one priority, which has made being a part of the BSPS program such an enjoyable college experience.