Graduate Student Spotlight: Daniel Arku

Name: Daniel Arku

BS Degree, Masters Degree, Other Degrees: BS, MS in Mining Engineering, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, MBA, Arizona State University, Graduate Certificate in Project Managment, Boston University

Track: Health and Pharmaceutical Outcomes

PI: Terri Warholak

Graduation year: 2023



What inspired you to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Arizona?

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work as a project manager for Dr. Warholak prior to starting the program and I became very interested in the research her team was working on. I started doing small side projects with her and decided I enjoyed the work and through her mentorship, I applied to the program.

Do you have any role models that inspire you at the R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy.

Dr. Warholak inspires me to try new research areas and techniques. She is always searching for new projects and partnerships, which keeps me engaged in learning more about how we can apply our research.

Have you experience any challanges in school? How did you overcome them?

I actually wasn’t accepted into the program the first time I applied. I was still interested in pursuing the degree, so I continued working with Dr. Warholak on projects to engage in research and gain more experience. While waiting for the next application round, I also obtained my MBA degree to help diversify my skillset and be more prepared for post-graduation opportunities.

What is your research focused on?

I try to gain as much experience as possible in different areas, but my main interest now is machine learning applications in health outcomes research. It allows me to build on analytic and operational skills I learned in my past mining engineering master’s and project management programs and apply to the different field of health outcomes such using real world data and big data to generate real world evidence. It is an exciting and expanding area of methods that I enjoy learning more about.

What do you enjoy most about the graduate program?

I enjoy the flexibility the program affords me. The opportunities in the program are endless and I have the freedom to explore many different routes without being tied to one area. My advisor is incredibly supportive of me exploring new areas, for which I am grateful.

Do you have any words of advice for students interested in pursuing a pharmaceutical graduate degree?

Get in and get it done!!! Graduate school is a great forum to expose yourself to many different areas, however you won’t learn everything while in school. Be open minded and focus on learning the basics, but don’t get too caught up in the weeds.

What are your goals after graduation?

At the moment, my aspiration is to work in the healthcare industry where I’d like to apply my skillset to real-world problems. I currently work part time as a health economist for a health economics and analysis consulting group. However, I am open to the idea of teaching in some capacity as well, just not a full time academic.

Anything else you would like to add?

I serve as the treasurer for the Graduate students’ representative council at the college and I represent graduate students from the health and pharmaceutical track. Lastly as part of my philosophy in giving back to the community, I am part of a group of 3 with an online coffee business where we donate 15% of our revenue to local framers in Kenya, from where we directly source our raw coffee beans which are roasted in Gilbert AZ. (


Story by: Gracie Lordi