Emilie Bergsma

Class of 2018, Gainesville Campus
Class of 2018, Gainesville Campus

In Her Own Words

Why did you choose UF College of Pharmacy?
My parents moved to Florida when I was an undergrad student in Ohio. I knew I really wanted to go to pharmacy school in Florida, and UF is the best pharmacy school in the state. I was really won over when I came to interview day because everyone was so friendly, and I could tell it was going to be a rigorous program that would prepare me well to be a pharmacist.

What was your inspiration for going into pharmacy?
I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma when I was 16 years old. I really feel like it was the direction for my life as soon as I went through treatment. Not only did I feel really connected to that patient population, but I was fascinated with the oncology medications that I was receiving. I knew that was an interest area of mine that I wanted to pursue further and learn more about. My goal is to specialize in clinical pediatric oncology pharmacy and work at a research children’s hospital some day.

How are you involved with research as a pharmacy student?
The College of Pharmacy offers research internships during the summer after your first and second years as a pharmacy student. This past summer I decided to do a summer research elective with Jatinder Lamba, Ph.D., in the department of pharmacotherapy and translational research. Since my interest is oncology, we are looking into the pharmacogenomics of chemotherapy drugs — essentially how a person’s genetics can affect how effective chemotherapy is to a certain patient. The experience has reinforced the fact that I want to do clinical research.

How does being a part of an academic health system benefit pharmacy students?
The College of Pharmacy is fortunate to be a part of a great health care system at UF Health. This allows us to have a great variety of rotation sites and receive exposure to a lot of different specialties that you can explore as a pharmacy student. You can have a preceptor that specializes in your interest area, which I think is really cool.

What do you do for fun in Gainesville?
UF has Lake Wauburg, where you can go kayaking, rock climbing, play volleyball or different sports. It’s free to UF students, and this is one of my favorite things to do in Gainesville. A lot of people really enjoy going to football games. There are so many different restaurants and activities to do. I really enjoy doing any thing with my pharmacy family.