Pharmacy student is statewide leader among peers

Fifth-year Pharm.D student Amanda Loomis was nominated to College Leadership R.I.

When Amanda Loomis arrived on the URI campus a fresh-faced, first-year pharmacy student, she didn’t know what she wanted to specialize in, just that she didn’t want to focus on geriatrics. She was spending her time just “checking off the boxes,” as she said, on her way to a degree without focusing her eventual career path.

But Loomis has never been one to shun any opportunity. Whether it’s trying new concentrations in her career path, picking up a random book she knows nothing about, or attending a “completely random” university event that doesn’t correspond to her usual interests, she makes it a point to try new things whenever the opportunity presents itself. So when Professor Erica Estus recommended she get involved in Cyber Seniors — a university program in which students mentor older adults in technology usage — Loomis didn’t hesitate despite her earlier reluctance.

“I always try to keep an open mind and challenge every thought I have,” the fifth-year Pharm.D student said. “I knew the most difficult thing would be finding one thing I really like to specialize in. So I agreed to give it a try, and I absolutely loved it. Now I know I want to specialize in geriatrics.”

That same open-mindedness and willingness to lead others into new experiences, along with her hard work and devotion to the profession, is what prompted College of Pharmacy Assistant Dean Denise Gorenski to nominate Loomis to the College Leadership Rhode Island 2019 class.

“Amanda has always been a hard worker, self-disciplined and really into the profession,” Gorenski said. “She’s an all-around kid. She’s the epitome of a pharmacist.”
College Leadership Rhode Island is year-long program (September-May) that aims to prepare students to navigate life after college. “Through experiential learning, students explore careers in the nonprofit, private, public and philanthropic sectors, while developing soft skills and leadership competencies for the 21st century,” the organization’s website reads. “The program provides students with the knowledge, skills and networks necessary to develop their professional lives and build a future as engaged Rhode Island citizens.”

The group of 49 college students from around the state meets monthly to discuss issues impacting college students, learn from industry leaders what it takes to succeed in a career after college and network with fellow students. Topics for the current session include such issues as “What Today’s Companies Look for When Hiring,” “Exploring Service & Rhode Island’s Nonprofit Landscape” and “Perfecting the Ask: Developing Your Elevator Pitch,” among others.

“We talk about ways we can work together and make an impact on the community,” Loomis said. “And it’s also about yourself and your leadership style. You learn how everyone can be a leader in their own way.  It’s a really diverse group; all ages, from recent high school grads to fifth-year students. Just being able to talk to that many people and connect with that many people will open doors.”

Loomis hopes to work as a pharmacist in an ambulatory care setting or in a private practice. But her career options aren’t set in stone. If she is learning anything from her experience working with such a diverse group of young professionals on the leadership committee, it’s never to limit yourself or your potential.

“Try as much as physically possible,” Loomis, a Coventry, R.I. native, said. “I’m going into this with an open mind, and challenge every thought I have. If I just go into the meeting and don’t do anything with it, it’ll just be another thing on my CE. I don’t want it to just be another box to check off.”