Student Perspective: Introducing Elina Schmauch

The WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is delighted to introduce you to second-year student pharmacist Elina Schmauch. Elina will give an inside look on the WSU PharmD program from the student perspective, highlighting the top places where students hang out to interviewing faculty and alumni about the future of pharmacy. You can find more stories and posts from Elina at our @WSUPharmacy channels on Instagram and TikTok.

This photo was taken outside The Fox where WSU hosts the White Coat Ceremony in August 2021.

Hello CougRx Family!

My name is Elina Schmauch and I am in my second year of the WSU doctor of pharmacy program (fondly referred to as a PY2) at WSU Spokane. This spring semester of 2023 I challenged myself to take on a project that not only peaks my interests as a pharmacy student, but also involves content creation and community outreach. I am hoping to not only entertain our community with silly videos and fun blog posts, but also highlight what it means to be a pharmacy student in Spokane and what being a student pharmacist means to us as students.

My dog Goose who helps get me through pharmacy school.

To start, I thought it would be insightful to share a few things about myself and what it means to me to be in the pharmacy program at WSU. I was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington and I loved it so much that I stayed to get my undergraduate degree just 15 minutes from where I grew up at the University of Puget Sound. There, I received my bachelor’s degree in molecular and cellular biology, with a minor in Spanish. I also adopted my dog, Goose, who is my biggest supporter through pharmacy school! My family moved to Washington from Puerto Rico in the 80s, and I was a first-generation college student. Receiving my bachelor’s degree was an accomplishment all on its own, and I never thought I would actually continue in higher education.

Washington State University was the first, and only pharmacy program I applied to for two reasons:

  1. It was relatively the closest school to my family
  2. The faculty actually seemed to care about their students being successful
My mom Sheila (left) and myself at my graduation from the University of Puget Sound. I majored in molecular and cellular biology and minored in Spanish.

Although I would prefer to only be 15 minutes away from my close-knit family, moving to a new city on my own provided a tremendous amount of personal growth. To my second point—it’s true that our professors actually care about us not only as students but people as well. In my short (almost) two years of pharmacy school, I have explored what it means to be a student pharmacist, a health care provider, and how to take care of myself as I continue to take care of others.

To me, being a student pharmacist means being kind on days when people are grouchy. It means understanding a patient who is coping with a new cancer diagnosis. It means asking the right questions to find out what is really going on in a patient’s life and how you can best recommend treatment to meet their needs. Being a student pharmacist is a lot more than just counting pills or waltzing down the over-the-counter (OTC) aisle at your local community pharmacy job. The amount of knowledge you receive in pharmacy school is substantial—and I am a firm believer that knowledge is power. However, if that knowledge isn’t wielded in understanding and compassion it will not go far.

Me pictured with my fellow class of 2025 student pharmacists and friends on the WSU Spokane campus (l-r)Grace Rogers, me, Savannah Ivanoff, Tessa Ballard.

While vulnerability and honesty may never be a trend, I hope to show you the heart of WSU Spokane. I hope to show the side of student life that goes beyond the stereotypes that comes with this profession. My classmates are passionate, intelligent, and kind people who on top of all of the schoolwork they do, they still find time to give back to our community. I am so excited to highlight the pharmacy program and feel privileged to be given this platform.

I hope to see you all in this journey!