As a 16-year-old cashier working at a Rite Aid in New Britain, Pennsylvania, Carly Harsha, EDU ’15, PHR ’19, admired the pharmacists she worked with. Now, in her current position at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) in Washington, D.C., she helps other young pharmacists succeed.
From humble to hopeful
During downtime at Rite Aid, Harsha observed the way pharmacists interacted with their patients. They were a wealth of information about medications and health conditions while also being there for everything else in between.
“I looked up to [the pharmacists] because they were so trusted and knowledgeable for the community,” said Harsha, who is the senior manager of Student and New Practitioner Development at APhA.
Whenever she had a chance, Harsha peppered the pharmacists with questions. When she decided to pursue a career in pharmacy, she relied on them for guidance and support.
From hopeful to helpful
At Temple, Harsha majored in adult and organizational development in the College of Education and Human Development while completing the pre-pharmacy track. An active member of Temple’s Pre-Pharmacy Association, she helped her peers navigate how to apply to pharmacy school and organized community service opportunities. Several faculty members from Temple’s School of Pharmacy would attend the association’s meetings to answer questions and instill confidence.
“They believed in us and wanted to do everything they could to help us succeed in getting into Temple Pharmacy,” said Harsha.
During her graduate studies, Harsha joined a variety of student organizations while interning at Rite Aid and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Although she loved working as a student pharmacist in community and hospital settings, Harsha felt like “there was something more.”
Seeking something more
During her final year of pharmacy school, Harsha completed one of her Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience rotations—a yearlong requirement for final-year students—at APhA’s national headquarters. When a job was posted in the APhA’s Student and New Practitioner Development Department, Harsha was hesitant to apply. She was in the process of applying to postgraduate pharmacy residency programs, and interviews approached. But Harsha’s professors and mentors reminded her to keep her mind open to opportunities.
After a busy month of interviewing, Harsha got the job. In her current role as senior manager, Harsha supports APhA-ASP chapters nationwide.
“I love working with student pharmacists,” she said. “I love the energy that they have—that bright excitement for the future.”
—By Ashley Nguyen, KLN ’12, and Cal Setar