November is Native American Heritage Month and it is a time for us to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions and histories of our First Americans and honor their important contributions to the community. First-year student pharmacist Estebon Hughes of the Spokane tribe shares some of the driving forces as to why he chose to work in health care and become a pharmacist.

First-year student pharmacist, Estebon Hughes of the Spokane tribe, poses for his white coat photo.

What inspired you to become a pharmacist?
My mother works in health care and I have always looked up to her and the work that she does. I wanted to become a pharmacist so that I could help people just like her. I also love the city of Spokane and by being a pharmacist, I am able to help the people of this city.

Can you share some of the proudest accomplishments since you’ve joined the WSU Doctor of Pharmacy program?
One of the most enriching events that I have attended so far was an event where the students from the pharmacy, nursing, and other programs, were able to meet with members of the Spokane community, who are parents of children with disabilities. At the event we were able to talk with those parents and hear about their experiences with using the medical field. That event allowed me to get to know some of the people that utilize health care professionals the most and made me even more proud to be entering one of the professions that are heavily relied on by those people.

What do you hope to do after you leave pharmacy school?
After leaving pharmacy school, I plan to stay in the Spokane area and work as a community pharmacist.

Why did you choose WSU for your Doctor of Pharmacy and how has the college supported you?
One of the reasons I chose WSU is because I have lived in Spokane for almost my entire life. I completed my undergraduate coursework at WSU Pullman, so because I already live in Spokane and already attended WSU, it was easy to go to WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Spokane for my Doctor of Pharmacy.

One big way the college has supported me was by offering the Save-A-Seat program. The program is for people who know they want to do pharmacy when they start college and it allowed me to shave off an entire year of my undergraduate, with guaranteed acceptance into the pharmacy program, as long as certain requirements were met.

What do you want Native American students who are considering a path in health care or pharmacy to know?
If you really want to go for it and you are willing to put in a lot of hard work, there are a lot of ways that schools will help you to be able to succeed.