Essay by Macilee MacKenzie

Macilee MacKenzie won the $600 Diana Mossip Memorial Scholarship for 2021.

My interest in healthcare began after my father contracted an infection that led to partial foot amputations. He had spent months recovering at home and my mother couldn’t always be there, so I had the responsibility of caring for him. While my mother was at work, I organized his medications, changed dressings, and administered IVs.

Last winter, I began to think about college and what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I knew that I wanted to go into the healthcare field, but I didn’t know exactly what profession I wanted to seek. I found a healthcare exploratory camp with a local hospital and applied to the program. My desire in pursuing a career as a pharmacist stemmed after attending the healthcare exploratory camp with the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. I was one of the few selected out of four hundred applicants, granting me the opportunity to shadow doctors and learn about the various health professions in a hospital setting. We had a lecture with a pharmacist, and after hearing her talk about her job, I immediately knew this is what I wanted to do. I felt that my academic interests and personality aligned with the requirements and duties of the job. The work required was very detail-oriented and logical. My favorite subjects are math and science and while in high school; I took the most advanced classes in those respective subjects. Being a pharmacist fulfilled my desire to help others, while not being very hands-on with patients, but working more in the background.

My plan for the future is to become a certified pharmacy technician, get a bachelor’s degree, graduate from pharmacy school, and complete a pharmacy residency. While in college, I plan on majoring in neuroscience as it fulfills the requirements for pharmacy school and is closely related to pharmacology. During the summer, I will be taking online courses to become a certified pharmacy technician. This will allow me to be able to work in a community pharmacy while studying in college. Working as a pharmacy technician will give me invaluable experience, exposure to the pharmacy setting, and help to finance my education. Also, while completing my undergraduate degree, I intend on participating in neuroscience research. Working as a pharmacy technician and obtaining research experience in a neuroscience laboratory will make me a strong candidate for pharmacy schools, all while helping me gain more knowledge.

I don’t see myself failing; there is a clear and feasible path for me to become a pharmacist. I’m not going to underestimate the difficulty ahead of me, but I believe that I have enough grit and will to push me through. I have the necessary support system to succeed, and I am willing to make sacrifices to achieve my goals. Challenging myself during high school has prepared me for the rigor of college. I can manage my time well, after participating in multiple sports and taking community college courses, all while in high school. The only thing that can hinder me is myself and I don’t plan on doing so.

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