Amy Bowles

Amy Bowles

Share your educational background, including degree(s), institution(s), undergraduate major and graduation year(s).

University of Minnesota Twin Cities Class of 2021, Bachelor of Arts in Biology, Society & Environment with a French major and Pharmacology minor.

I will be attending the University of Wisconsin - Madison for their Doctor of Pharmacy Program starting in the fall of 2021. I hope to eventually be in a hospital pharmacy setting, working with patients directly in a multidisciplinary environment.

What led you to this profession? Tell us about your path.

In high school, I knew I wanted to work in healthcare but was unsure of what type of setting. As a first year in undergrad, I volunteered in a hospital pharmacy and instantly fell in love with it. I enjoyed seeing how the pharmacist could be very hands on with patients, specifically working one on one with them to focus on their specific treatments. From there, I started working in a retail pharmacy to explore different pharmacy settings and will continue to discover different specialties throughout pharmacy school to find the best fit for me.

What is your advice for current CLA students interested in a healthcare career?

My advice would be to get involved and join clubs you might not normally try. Throughout my undergraduate experience I was in a sorority, studied abroad, had two jobs, volunteered, and was on the executive board for two clubs. Having the opportunity to participate in these different activities gave me the ability to explore various passions and network with people outside of my typical bubble.

What experiences did you have that confirmed your choice of profession?

One experience that confirmed my choice of wanting to pursue a career in pharmacy was studying abroad in France. While abroad, my goal was to complete my French major, but in reality, I gained more knowledge outside of the classroom. While there I was able to explore their healthcare system and notice differences in their pharmacy setup, taking note of things I potentially want to explore during my PharmD program. I found it inspiring to look at healthcare on a global level and it confirmed my career goals.

What kinds of obstacles have you encountered in pursuing your goals, and how did you overcome them?

One major obstacle that I faced, as did many others, was applying to grad school during the COVID-19 pandemic. I was planning to take the PCAT in the summer of 2020 but due to the CDC’s guidelines, many pharmacy schools made this test optional. From there I had to decide whether to take the exam or not. In order to make this decision, I evaluated the positives and negatives of both sides and eventually made the decision to not take the exam. I chose to do this for my family’s safety after talking with the admissions team at the University of Wisconsin. I was able to overcome this challenge by using my resources and evaluating both possible options thoroughly.

Did anyone encourage or discourage you from pursuing your goals? How did you overcome that obstacle?

My family and friends have both been very supportive of me and my decision to pursue a career in pharmacy. My family is mostly made up of teachers and healthcare workers, so I grew up surrounded by the idea of helping others and have always been encouraged to find a career in which I can do so.

Is there anything else you would like to share with CLA students interested in health professions?

One thing that I would like to share with CLA students interested in health professions is to use your degree to your advantage. Having a degree in Biology, Society & Environment immediately set me apart from other students applying to healthcare programs. Not only did I get to complete my prerequisites, but I also got to take a look at healthcare from a more social perspective, learning about its history and disparities. This knowledge is something that I plan to take with me and was very useful to talk about in my interview.