Alan Rusnak is a true pioneer at the Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy. Rusnak served as a student representative of the Pharmacy Advisory Committee while in the pre-pharmacy program at Tri-County Technical College. The committee regularly met with pharmacy colleges in the state to discuss how the pre-pharmacy students could be best prepared for pharmacy school.
“Dr. Laura Fox (Assistant Dean at the School of Pharmacy) always made a strong impression on me,” Rusnak said. “Not only that they wanted to create the best pharmacy college in the state, but that they wanted me to attend.”
Rusnak was excited about the prospect of being part of the first class to build the program. And his first year at the school exceeded his expectations. He formed strong friendships with the other members of the one class sharing the 52,000-square foot building. Plus, he volunteered in the School of Pharmacy’s free clinic, living out the school’s commitment to service.
The first-year work was challenging too.
“Admittedly, I’ve had to work harder than ever before, but the work has been with a purpose,” Rusnak said. “We aren’t sitting around learning a bunch of useless facts and figures. Our classes have actual relevance to the job we’re going to be performing in the future.”
Rusnak is continuing work this summer, conducting cancer research with assistant professor Dr. Christopher Farrell. The two are comparing DNA samples taken from patients with colorectal cancer to determine the genes that may be involved in cancer formation.
“Since the pharmacy program is just starting, this has been the school’s first research project,” Rusnak said. “It has been a wonderful opportunity this summer for me to gain some experience working with real experts in the field and build up some of the necessary skills involved in doing research.”