With a desire to help and care for those in need, Vivian E. Pereira Flores, PharmD ’21, chose a career in pharmacy because she considers the profession “intellectually challenging, while offering a high level of prestige and the opportunity to help others.”
She believes that pharmacists are an “essential element in ensuring the health of patients” due to their accessibility and trustworthiness.
Having grown up in Puerto Rico, Pereira noticed that the island was experiencing a shortage of pharmacists. She noted that this situation could pose a health threat to the residents, while opening the door for her to “have a positive impact in the healthcare system.”
She plans to work in a community pharmacy in Puerto Rico before opening an independent pharmacy “so I can continue to serve my community.”
Pereira and the PCOM School of Pharmacy were a perfect match. “I love the sense of being in a small community,” she said. “The relationship between the faculty and students felt very close and personal.”
She also enjoyed the school’s cultural diversity. “I felt welcomed. To work with and learn from people from many different cultures motivated me to choose PCOM.”
Pereira is no stranger to diverse communities. During her last year in college at the University of Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in General Science, she studied abroad in Spain for six months and had the opportunity to travel across Spain and to other countries in Europe such as Italy, Greece, Portugal, Turkey, Hungary, Germany, Holland, Austria and others.
She credits her parents with providing for her and her younger brother. “They ensured that we would be able to pursue all opportunities and goals we wanted to achieve. They taught us that any goal is possible if we persevere and work hard for it.”
She explained that her parents both came from economically challenged families and “worked really hard to have and give us everything they didn’t have when they were growing up,” she said. “I’ve always had one hundred percent support from my parents, and I am very grateful for it.”
Pereira encouraged prospective students like her. “If you are a student from another state or country, don’t be afraid of the change or to be alone because you won’t be alone,” she said.