YooKyung (Erica) Lee ’18

  • Hometown: Montrose, California
  • Major: Pharm.D.
  • Graduation Year: 2018

Why did you choose URI?
After living in Southern California for six years, I wanted to explore and study on the other side of the country. I looked for universities with great pharmacy programs and found URI, and when I visited on Welcome Day, I really loved the atmosphere of the campus and the students’ positive vibe and school pride. All of it made me want to be part of the Rhody family.
Why did you choose the Pharm.D. program?
I always had been in interested in science and health care. My involvement in the Academy of Science and Medicine during high school allowed me to be exposed to different health care professionals. Pharmacy particularly sparked my interest, which made me pursue a career in this field. I love helping and caring for other people, and I feel health care is a great way to do that.
What made you decide to become a pharmacist?
To many people, visiting a doctor’s office can be intimidating and scary.  A visit to the pharmacist is less stressful and can even be comforting. Pharmacists are approachable, and they can make it easy for patients to ask questions. I decided to become a pharmacist to help patients and answer any questions they have about their health conditions.
What has been the best part of your studies in the College of Pharmacy?

I really enjoy Compounding Lab, which is my favorite class. I’ve always wondered what was being made in the compounding pharmacy, and this class allows me not only learn what was being made, but also I get to actually do it myself! Not only that, the lab allows us to counsel the TAs as if we were actually counseling patients, which is what I’ve always wanted to do. Compounding lab definitely is the highlight of my week.

What has been the best part of your entire URI experience?
When I received my white coat during the White Coat Ceremony. It was the first time my family traveled all together to URI to watch me start pharmacy school. It was the most special moment to be with people I love and with all my pharmacy friends, who will continue this journey with me for the next four years. 
What do you consider the biggest strengths of your major or program?
The ability to graduate with the Pharm.D. degree in six years. Usually it would take a student eight years to achieve the Doctor of Pharmacy degree,  but URI provides a strong program in six years that educates, trains, and prepares us to be ready to join the workforce as pharmacists.
What was your favorite experiential education placement so far?
I have completed my experiential learning at a free health clinic near my hometown. As a high school student, I volunteered at the same site, but as a student pharmacist with more knowledge, I had a different point of view and new perspective. I was able to help the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and patients. As a prospective pharmacist, I have also learned a lot more about counseling and the patient care systems.
What has surprised you most about URI?
The  community atmosphere here. With 13,000 undergraduate students, it could be hard for students to feel at home—like they are welcomed and accepted. But URI has never failed to make me feel like I am at my home away from home. The faculty, staff, students, and mentors are so nice and hospitable, not just in academic situations, but in residence halls and organizations.  URI provides so many niches and places for you to belong and feel welcome.