Pharmacy Perspectives - Graduation 2011 - 6

g r a d u at i o n 2 0 1 1

Juggling Act

Coming to America
Cowboys and Indians. Desolate plains and John Wayne. This is the America that Asia Puszka’s family envisioned when they emigrated from Poland in the late ‘80s. No, not the 1880s – the 1980s. It’s hard to imagine, but less than 25 years ago communism was very real and very oppressive – even in Poland. Until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, most Eastern Europeans got their news from the Politburo and learned about foreign countries from old movies. The Puszkas were no exception. With no Internet, Google, Facebook or reality TV, they learned English from John Wayne and Starsky and Hutch, and thought cowboys and Indians still roamed the plains. With a smattering of English learned from old westerns and police dramas, they headed west – after the fall of communism – to a refugee camp outside of Rome where they waited until a country took them in. After a few months, the family was sponsored by a church in South Dakota, and was on its way to America. Asia was two years old at the time. Once here, they quickly learned that phrases like “Go ahead punk, make my day,” and “book ‘em Danno” though universally known, were not exactly part of every day language – especially in South Dakota. During the ensuing years they had to master a new language, new country and new social landscape. “The language proved to be the most challenging of all,” says Asia. In third grade, her school suggested holding her back a year. In order to motivate her, Asia’s mother paid her a penny for every page she read. “Something clicked. I found that I really enjoyed reading and I didn’t like the idea of not being in the same grade as my friends.” Then in 1998 came another move when Asia’s father lost his job and her mother’s employer – Safeway – transferred them to Littleton, Colo. So once again, the family was uprooted. But this time, it was easier. Without language and cultural barriers, Asia thrived in junior high and high school and developed an interest in science and healthcare. Her mother put her in touch with a Safeway pharmacist whose husband was the pharmacy director for The Children’s Hospital. “I didn’t know very much about the profession and assumed that pharmacy meant standing behind a counter counting pills.” So, Asia shadowed a PICU pharmacist at the hospital. “That was a turning point for me. I saw that pharmacists play a pivotal role in patient care. After that experience, I decided that pharmacy was for me.” Even though Asia’s road to her doctor of pharmacy has included several challenges, it has also been filled with opportunity. “One constant throughout has been that life will take you many places and you have to be willing to follow where it leads.”

When hospital pharmacist Dario Pantano decided to pursue his doctorate through the Nontraditional PharmD program (NTPD), he and his wife had two young children – a 3 1/2 year old and a 1-year Dario and daughter, Ruby old. Five years later, they have added another child to their growing family as well as a doctorate. “Fortunately, with two young kids I was already used to sleep deprivation,” says Dario of his foray into a graduate degree. “A doctorate sounds good before you start, but in the wee hours of the night when you’re trying to study and soothe the cries of a newborn, you tend to rethink your decision,” says Dario. “But you know what? You don’t realize what you can handle until you do it.” Fortunately for Dario he had help. In addition to his wife, Susan, who helped him juggle work, studying and parenthood, Dario’s employer, Albany Memorial Hospital, was supportive. Also, the NTPD staff worked with Dario and helped him challenge four of six rotations to make life a little more manageable. Since Dario has been a working pharmacist for the past 14 years, challenging some of the rotations was natural. The challenge process, though, was not easy. It involves certification exams and studying. “Oddly enough, getting the rotations completed was probably the most difficult aspect of the program.” The Nontraditional PharmD (NTPD) program is a flexible program for “I chose the program beworking pharmacists who are cause I wanted to be on par licensed in the United States or with the newer graduates Canada. Classes are delivered and since I was working and online. Experiential training raising a family there was no requirements may be met through way I could attend classes a combination of live rotations on campus.” So, an online and, in many cases, through credit program was perfect for his received for qualified previous lifestyle. “The flexibility was professional work. The NTPD key. I could access material program is fully accredited by the any time during a given Accreditation Council for Pharmacy day, which really worked Education (ACPE). for me.” Nontraditional Graduates December 2010 Kathleen Brakebush Tammy Buntjer Joanne Chia Lynn Fromm Carol Jones Marie Metcalfe Jennifer Nishioka Dario Pantano Kenneth Schwartz Janet Sio Joyce Totton Glenn Whiteway May 2011 Stephen Bean Susan Brzozowski Tara Butler Jill Clements Cathy Duong Margaret Anna Evans Chad Forinash Stacey Ginther Elizabeth Guta Helen Kerr Alexander Kuo Christine Landry Shao Lee Justin Lum Anthony Maddalena Kellie Miller Aaron Nguyen Marla O’Shea Bulman Earle Reome Rosemary Rizzo Lana Sinderovsky Catherine Sych Ann Thompson Julie Vaughan-Kent LaSanda WintersSmiley


CU School of Pharmacy


Pharmacy Perspectives - Graduation 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pharmacy Perspectives - Graduation 2011

Pharmacy Perspectives - Graduation 2011 - 1
Pharmacy Perspectives - Graduation 2011 - 2
Pharmacy Perspectives - Graduation 2011 - 3
Pharmacy Perspectives - Graduation 2011 - 4
Pharmacy Perspectives - Graduation 2011 - 5
Pharmacy Perspectives - Graduation 2011 - 6
Pharmacy Perspectives - Graduation 2011 - 7
Pharmacy Perspectives - Graduation 2011 - 8