Even in a challenging economy, Oregon State graduates are managing to find great jobs in the Portland Metro area. Scott Nakashimada’s Q&A is the second in a series that profiles recent OSU grads and how they found their positions.
Who: Scott Nakashimada
Undergrad degree in general science with an option in pre-pharmacy
Undergrad Alumnus Spring 2005
Graduate Alumnus, Pharmacy, 2009
You recently applied for a pharmacy position in Portland. Can you tell me a little bit about it?
I have been a pharmacy intern with Kaiser Permanente for the last four years. As graduation was approaching, I applied and got a full-time position with them. Now, my plan is to continue interning there for the next couple of months until I take my national board and state law exams to become a licensed pharmacist. After that is taken care of I will transition to a full-time pharmacist with Kaiser.
What were your long-term goals as an undergraduate in general science?
During my senior year in high school I did a health careers program at Beaverton High School. I got to spend some time working in the pharmacy. I liked it, so I pursued it all through college. I got a job at Kaiser as a pharmacy technician and pursued that as I was pursuing my pre-pharmacy requirements. Everything just seemed to fall into place after that.
Is pharmacy a competitive field? How do you think you set yourself apart from others vying for the same position?
There used to be plenty of openings for pharmacists, but now, with the economy and a pharmacy school that opened in Forest Grove, we are competing more.
As a pharmacy student, I tried to be as involved in pharmacy student groups as possible. I try to get my face out there in order to represent myself and OSU. I was the committee chair of a diabetes awareness group, where I was exposed to many different pharmaceutical opportunities. Being involved in the community and working with other pharmacists has allowed me to build relationships. I was constantly told “pharmacy is a small world.” The further I got into school, the more I realized it’s true.
I think it’s about the people you know and making sure you get face-time with them. The benefit of being a student is that you get the opportunity to either intern or volunteer at a lot of pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and health-related industries. Taking advantage of those opportunities to interact, express your interest and, more importantly, meet the right people, is invaluable.
How do you think that OSU prepared you for the working world?
I was able to network quite a bit while I was at OSU. I made many friends and I think that helped me out quite a bit. One of the first things I did was find a professor or advisor who I could think of as a mentor. That helped me do what I needed to do to find the aspect of pharmacy that was right for me. As it turns out, all the professors and staff at the College of Pharmacy have been great mentors to me.
What advice would you offer OSU students?
Anything is possible as long as you set your mind to it and make sure that you put in a good effort.
Anything you would like to add?