Profile by Stewart Prest, submitted 2013

Rakhee Patel (BSc Biology '08, UA Pharmacy '12) came for the convenience, but stayed for the community.

The pharmacist with Rexall in Edmonton says she never intended to finish her degree at Augustana: "I grew up in Camrose, so Augustana made a lot of sense for the first year. I was able to live at home and go to university."

"I thought I would transfer to the main campus of the University of Alberta after a year or two," she continues, "but it was such a great experience that I stayed there and finished my degree."

Rakhee is quick to list off the advantages she encountered. "I just liked that it was so intimate on campus," she explains. "Classes weren't overwhelmingly large. I liked that my professors actually knew who I was. It wasn't a huge challenge to get feedback on my work."

Perhaps even more than the classroom experience, Rakhee remembers the community on campus. "Everyone knows each other," she smiles, "and everyone's willing to help one another out. The entire experience was tremendously collaborative."

It's a quality that helped her in pharmacy, as well. "I had no idea before I started looking to it but pharmacy is a very collaborative profession. I thought you would be stuck behind a counter counting pills, but it's not like that at all.

"It's really collaborative work. You're constantly speaking with patients, and talking with the nurses and doctors involved with their care. Communication is a huge part of my job."

As it happens, Rakhee studied English for her minor, to complement her Major in Biology. Though very different, it turned out to be the perfect complement to her biology studies. "Because so much of my work depends on making points in ways people can understand, English has really come into play more than I thought it would."

She is quick to recommend pharmacy as a career for others, helping them to make some of the same discoveries she has. "I've actually started mentoring an Augustana student as well who's thinking of studying pharmacy."

Would Rakhee recommend Augustana to others as well? "Oh definitely! I tell everyone to go to Augustana," she says, laughing. "I have nothing but good things to say about my experience there."