Jennifer Esch goes from broker to pharmacist

esch.jpgWhen Jennifer Esch walked down the stage to receive her diploma, she had much more than a high GPA. Esch graduated in May 2010 with more work experience than some people get their entire lives.

During her time as a PharmD student, Esch has served as an officer in the UA sector of the American Public Health Association, the International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation and the grand vice president for student affairs for Phi Delta Chi fraternity.

But before all that, she worked at a broker doing 401K plans.

“I got sick of being laid off, so I decided to change jobs,” she said. “I thought maybe I should do something with science. It was something I always liked. So I took my severance package and moved to Arizona.”

Esch, who still speaks with a slight Michigan accent, began her first “rotation” out in the field in Wisconsin. Esch worked seven different rotations before she graduated with a doctor of pharmacy, or PharmD. Each lasted approximately a month and a half.

Among these were a position at Albertson’s in Tucson, the intensive care unit at University Medical Center and the outpatient pharmacy at San Xavier Indian Health Center, run by the Indian Health Service.

At San Xavier, most of Esch’s patients were Tohono O’odham, and all were Native American. Esch filled out prescriptions for them and offered council and medical advice. She also participated in community outreach activities such as working at diabetes fairs and visiting group homes to pass out health information.

In August 2009, Phi Delta Chi invited her to become one of their five grand officers, making her the only student in a group of seasoned professionals. In addition to having a say in club finances and events, Esch is in charge of student outreach.

“I meet lots of people from schools all over the country,” she says. “It’s interesting to see how they’re different from us, and how they’re the same.”