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Chemistry photo diary: Andrew Ma
Chemistry photo diary: Andrew Ma

Full Name:

Andrew Ma


Pharmacy Student

What do you do?: 

I am in my 2nd year of 4 years of pharmacy school at Oregon State University—located in Corvallis — studying pharmaceutical sciences. I am continuing to construct a foundation of my knowledge about pharmaceutical science to make my transition into my 3rd year at Oregon Health & Science University as smooth as possible. Over the summer, I recently completed my first internship experience in Portland working over 40 hours a week. completed my first internship experience in Portland working over 40 hours a week.

What is a typical day like?: 

A typical day for me is... well, pretty typical. I attend lectures, participate in outreaches within the communities of Corvallis, and head to the library to invest long hours of studying. Along with the traditional routine of a typical graduate student, I will be completing a predetermined set amount of hours at a hospital setting within pharmacy.

What was your path to get to where you are today?: 

I began college at Portland State University after I graduated high school, with intentions of becoming a rich, famous dentist. At that time, I didn’t know who I was, what I represented, or what type of person I wanted to become. However, with exposure to various experiences, it slowly shaped who I have become as an individual. One of these experiences was in the research lab of Dr. Marilyn Mackiewicz at Portland State University. Dr. Mackiewicz was not only a great mentor through my research experience, but she was the first professor I had and met in my college career. Having a professor with such passion and positive outlooks influenced me and is something I hope every student has a similar encounter. Dr. Mackiewicz did not only teach me chemistry, she taught me about life. Questioning me and making me critically think about the bigger picture was her goal for me and that is something I am very grateful for. I found a career that incorporates my interest in chemistry and science, but also a career that allows me to spend quality time with my family—and one day, a family of my own. Along with Dr. Mackiewicz research lab, there were many exposures that I consider inspiring and those people involved have also impacted my life the same as Dr. Mackiewicz did.

What makes you excited to go to work every day?: 

The people I serve. I have realized although science sparks an interest, I would not want to spend a career alone with the information. Instead, I seek human interaction, and there is a plethora of human interaction at the pharmacy. Sick people, sad people, happy people, hurt people—being apart of outpatient pharmacy or community pharmacy, I am flooded by a wide range of people. As a pharmacist, I am usually the last healthcare provider the patient sees from their long day spent at a physician visit or hospital—that being said, I have the ability to make the person across from me feel a little better after a long day. Whether that is creating a smile or laugh, or being someone that will be there to listen to them, or to show empathy towards their situation, I believe I have the ability to make their experience a little better and that is most rewarding for me.

What is next on your career path?: 

My plan is to secure a job within pharmacy that is most compatible with a few goals I have in mind. Assisting patients with their medical need is always viewed as the primary goal and that concept is implied as a healthcare professional. Particularly as a pharmacist, I want to impact my community through educating them on medication as well as living a healthy lifestyle. Along with that, I would also like to be a mentor for others who seek a career of medicine and pharmacy, the same as people in my life have been mentors for me.