APhA Student Leadership Award recipient: Joanna Ma
Interview with: Joanna Ma, University of Florida College of Pharmacy, Gainesville
1. As you reflect on your student pharmacist experience thus far, what are some of your favorite memories?
My favorite memories revolve around APhA–ASP experiences. Through APhA–ASP, I have met some of my closest friends in pharmacy school, where we were able to work together to further our organization and give back to our community. One favorite memory is attending an International Health Outreach Trip through the International Pharmaceutical Students' Foundation during spring break of 2020. I joined an interdisciplinary team of pharmacy, medicine, physician assistant, and physical therapist students that partnered with a university in Mexico for 1 week to provide free health care to the locals under the supervision of preceptors. This was one of my favorite experiences in pharmacy school because I was able to use the knowledge I learned as a student pharmacist to impact the community on a global level.
2. Pharmacy school is demanding, especially when you add other activities. How do you manage all your responsibilities?
In my experience, time management is key. I use multiple calendars and planners to stay organized and ensure that I complete my responsibilities in a timely manner. Because I am passionate about my responsibilities and enjoy being involved in multiple organizations and roles, balancing them does not feel like a task. With each responsibility, I look forward to gaining experiences that will prepare me to become a successful future pharmacist.
3. What are some of your favorite leadership tools and/or resources?
Successful leaders learn from those who came before them. To me, the most valuable leadership resources are the people who have been in my position as a student pharmacist. Through APhA–ASP, I have gained a great support system of prior executive board leaders, faculty advisors, and new practitioner mentors who support one another and are mutually passionate about the pharmacy profession.
4. What does being a leader, and being selected for this award, mean to you?
Being a leader is about how I can help improve the organizations I am involved with and provide my peers the tools they need to succeed and achieve their goals. As the immediate past president of my local APhA–ASP chapter, one of my goals was to make a difference within our organization and throughout our local community.
I am honored to have been selected for the Student Leadership Award. It drives me to continue pursuing more leadership experiences within pharmacy school and after graduation.
5. What’s next for you?
I am beginning my final year as a student pharmacist and embarking on my APPEs. I am excited to apply the knowledge I gained from my didactic years to my experiences on rotation. Looking further into the future, I plan to continue my involvement with APhA as a new practitioner mentor once I become a pharmacist. I want to positively impact student pharmacists within APhA–ASP the same way new practitioner mentors have helped me.