Prescription for Success


It wasn't what she set out to do when she first applied to MCLA, but biology major Nadyne Damas '10 of Boston has found her calling: She is on her way to becoming a pharmacist. This past fall, she began the doctor of pharmacy program at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Worcester.

"I just knew I liked science. I didn't know where I was going to go with it, or what I was going to do," Damas said.

Her biology professor, Dr. Anne Goodwin, suggested that she look into pharmacy. As it turned out, Damas had a friend who worked in the field at the Walgreens pharmacy near her home.

"So, I asked her about it," she said. "I started working there as a pharmacy tech. I did that for two years and by the time I was a senior, I knew for sure that I wanted to be a pharmacist."

Damas also knew she did not want to attend graduate school outside of Massachusetts because of her desire to stay close to her family, so she only applied to one pharmacy program. "And, I had checked out the program my junior year, and I really, really liked it. Most of the pharmacy staff I worked with graduated from that school."

Competition to be accepted in any pharmacy program is stiff. And, while she admits that applying to just one school was "a big gamble," Damas was accepted in March 2010, just before her May graduation from MCLA.

"I was so nervous. Everyone thought I was so crazy apply to only one pharmacy program. But, that was the one I wanted. I was pretty confident. I had the grades. I had the experience at the pharmacy and the pharmacist I was working with liked me and she liked my work. She wrote me a really good recommendation, and my professors did the same."

She began the program in September.

"It's tough. I attend the accelerated program," she explained. "Traditionally, most pharmacy programs are six years long, but this one is two years and 10 months."

According to Damas, MCLA prepared her in a myriad of ways to get into the highly selective and demanding program. However, one of the most valuable tools she learned at the College was how to manage her time as she balanced studying with her other activities as a college student.

"I had to learn time management really fast with the biology major. Classes like cell biology are really tough. You can't just scan through your notes and pass. You have to really make time to study and do your lab reports. If I hadn't learned that, I don't know what I would have done because, basically time management is my life right now," Damas said.

As she began the pharmacy program last fall, she quickly saw how her MCLA classes and the professors who taught them set her up for success.

"I had to take biochemistry again at Mass. College of Pharmacy. Because I took it already at MCLA, it helped a lot. Dr. Rob Harris really taught it well," she said. "A lot of students who hadn't taken biochemistry were trying to play catch-up, and when I sat in the class, hearing it for the second time, I was like, 'Okay, I understand it.'"