The relationship between medication and the human body initially attracted Samantha Sabada, PharmD ’20, to a career in pharmacy. In addition, she appreciated the variety of pathways the profession offers – with careers in nuclear, veterinary and pediatric pharmacy, in addition to research and many other fields possible.
She also tells the story of her grandmother’s death from a second stroke while Sabada was attending community college near her hometown of Parkland, Florida.
“It turned out that my grandmother was not taking her medications properly,” Sabada said, “and I can’t help but wonder if she would still be here today if someone had taken the time to educate her. It was at that moment that I knew becoming a pharmacist would be my calling.”
Since high school, Sabada had sensed that she wanted to pursue a career in health care, a pursuit that would allow her to provide “assistance, support and comfort to others,” she recalls.
“I just didn’t know how to put my plan into action or what I wanted to do,” she said. She recalls doubting her ability “because I wasn’t the ‘smartest’ in high school, but I had passion and dedication.”
A first generation college graduate, Sabada said there were many unknowns “as to how to get to where I wanted to be in life – I knew I wanted to be a part of something bigger.”
She initially chose to attend the PCOM School of Pharmacy because “PCOM Georgia chose me,” she said. She recalls attending a graduate program college fair in South Florida and coming upon a PCOM Georgia display. “The students and administrators at the booth took their time to speak with me, answer all of my questions, and shepherded me through the admissions process,” she said.
She visited the Suwanee campus in person for an interview. “I never felt so comfortable. I made lifelong connections with the student ambassadors and knew PCOM Georgia was going to be my home away from home for the next four years,” she said.
Sabada remembers meeting student ambassador Lauren Avery, PharmD ’18, on interview day. “Ever since that day, she has been by my side rooting me on and pushing me to be the best possible version of myself. She has been there through my failures and my successes, and she is someone I look up to and aspire to be every single day.”
Her father, Jay Sabada, her “biggest fan and supporter,” also inspires Sabada. She said, “He always told me ‘it doesn’t matter the path you take to reach your dreams as long as you make it to the finish line.’ Whenever I needed anything financially, mentally or physically, my dad was my savior.”
Sabada says she knows her future will involve helping her community and patients “live better and healthier lives through patient-centered care.” However, she aspires to one-day complete PGY1 and PGY2 pharmacy residencies to expand her knowledge as a pharmacist.
Sabada would like to specialize in either transplant or ambulatory care pharmacy so she can “work closely with other healthcare professionals while building relationships with patients, and educating them on the importance of their medications” – something that has driven her since her grandmother passed away.
Sabada offers the following advice to future pharmacy students.
“Never give up on yourself and don’t ever stop chasing your dreams. You are never too old or too young to make your dreams come true. You don’t have to be the smartest, but you have to be determined, driven and passionate.”
She added, “Don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed. Go the extra mile and lean on your friends. I know I would have never made it through pharmacy school without my ‘pharmILY.’”
“And, lastly, enjoy the ride! You will never get ‘today’ back, so make memories and embrace the good and bad times.”