Pursuing her dream
As her journey at ASU Online progressed, Azad began to blend her financial expertise with her passion for pharmacy by taking prerequisites, paving the way for pharmacy school applications.
“I decided that it was the perfect time to take some of the prerequisites I was missing to apply to pharmacy school,” Azad reflected. “I realized I really liked pharmacy and finance, so I wanted to combine the two.”
Today, Azad is in her final year of the doctorate in pharmacy program at University of California San Francisco with a goal to help others in the field once she graduates.
"I want to help make medication more accessible, whether at a federal level or within private companies, working on issues like insurance," Azad said.
Her dedication shines through her work as an intern pharmacist at a hospital, where Azad applies her finance background to ensure patients receive the best, cost-effective medications. She emphasizes that pharmacists are some of the most accessible healthcare professionals, offering guidance on over-the-counter drugs and more.
“I grew up in a low socioeconomic area in Los Angeles, and I saw how often my mom went to the pharmacy around the corner. The pharmacist was always able to help her with her health problems,” Azad explained.
Today, Azad aims to pass this experience on and make a meaningful impact on patients' lives.
Breaking online learning stereotypes
Azad’s ASU Online experience challenges stereotypes surrounding online education, especially in STEM fields. She dispels the notion that online education is inferior to in-person learning.
"The programs and classes are all taught by the same professors," Azad noted. “You're doing the same assignments you’d do in person.”
Azad’s science curriculum also included laboratory courses.
While many institutions don’t allow these experiences to be held in a virtual format, ASU Online ensures a seamless transition for students by sending lab kits to their homes. These kits included all the necessary equipment and materials, allowing Azad to conduct experiments safely and effectively.
Having earned degrees in both in-person and online modalities, Azad underscores the benefits of online education with flexibility ranking high on her list.
“The benefits to earning a degree online for me would be flexibility and learning environment,” Azad said.
A message of perseverance
Azad’s journey is not just about her determination, but also about the support of her family, friends and mentors.
With strong emotions, she candidly shared her story, highlighting the sacrifices her immigrant parents made for her and her sister. She expressed gratitude for the village of people that helped her reach her goals and encouraged others with a simple message: "If you want it and you try your best, the professors are here to help you."
Her story exemplifies the power of online education, perseverance and the pursuit of one's dreams. Azad’s commitment to bridging the gap between pharmacy and finance, coupled with her dedication to helping her community, is an inspiration to all. As she continues her journey toward becoming a pharmacist, Azad reminds us that with passion, hard work and a supportive community, we can achieve our dreams, no matter how challenging the path may seem.