Obinna Ekechukwu, PharmD ’20, developed an interest in health care while in elementary school. He remembers a career fair where his schoolmates’ parents gave presentations on their professions.
“There were two presentations that stick with me until this day,” he said. “One was a neurosurgeon and the other was a pharmacist. Their presentations were fascinating to me and, from that moment forward, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in health care.”
His parents were early proponents of a profession in the sciences. “My father being a college biology professor and my mother as a registered nurse definitely played a role in my initial career interests,” he said.
Ekechukwu chose to pursue a doctoral degree in pharmacy because he wished to combine his varied interests. Prior to professional school, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Coastal Carolina University, Conway, South Carolina.
“I wanted to merge my passions for health care, business and technology. Earning a degree in pharmacy,” he said, “would allow me to accomplish this by pursuing a career in the biopharmaceutical industry.”
And that is exactly where this Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) graduate is headed. He is poised to begin a post-graduate biopharmaceutical industry fellowship with Pharmacyclics/AbbVie in conjunction with Keck Graduate Institute in Claremont, California. He explained that during the two-year program, he will join the medical affairs team focused on medical communications, medical education and tool generation in support of the hematology-oncology therapeutic area.
A Myrtle Beach, South Carolina native, Ekechukwu said he chose to attend the PCOM School of Pharmacy “because of the strong faculty and student relationships. The feedback I received from students on campus was overwhelmingly positive,” he said. “During my interview, I felt a connection to the campus and that solidified my decision to attend PCOM.”
Ekechukwu was a very active member of the Pharmacy Class of 2020. He served as president of the Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity, was the Pharmacy Council 2020 class chair, and volunteered as a Pharmacy Council peer mentor and a PCOM academic tutor. He also served as the Health Career Academy assistant director and as a volunteer mentor. In addition, he was one of 25 pharmacy students selected for the Johns Hopkins Summer Internship in 2018, the only PCOM Georgia student to attend.
Ekechukwu’s passion for food has helped connect him while a student. “I love the uniqueness of various cuisines and learning how to infuse techniques from around the world into my own cooking,” he said. He curates a dedicated food Instagram page where he only features his food. “Food brings people together and it has been fun to be able to share my food with my pharmacy family here at PCOM,” he said.
As he begins his career in pharmacy, this graduate is motivated to “use the gifts I’ve been given to affect change and inspire others.” As he ponders the many “unsolved mysteries” in health care, he said he wants to “be a part of the solution in improving patient outcomes.” In addition, he plans to encourage young minority healthcare professionals “to continue the mission of improving care within impoverished communities.”
Ekechukwu has some words of wisdom for students following behind him. He said, “We all have a story which defines our purpose. Never lose sight of that and ensure that you strategically align your experiences to your overall purpose. If you maintain that level of focus and determination, nothing can stand in your way.”