July 11, 2016

Scholar Voices: Where are they now?

Earl Woods Scholar alum Avni Patel writes in to our Scholar Voices series to share an update of where she is today. Part of the inaugural cohort of Earl Woods Scholars, Patel has come a long way over these past nine years. A graduate of Tiger Woods’ alma mater, Western High School, she spent four years striving for and achieving success as a biochemistry major at UCLA. Patel has recently completed her final year at the University of New Mexico’s Doctor of Pharmacy program. She is now poised to achieve her lifelong dream of becoming a pharmacist. 

Roaming through the endless green paths at UCLA, I wondered what my professional future would hold. My many dreams left me to contemplate which path to take. I enjoyed everything I encountered, from biochemistry and public health to teaching math and science. 

Throughout this journey as a first-generation college student, I was very fortunate to have support from the Tiger Woods Foundation as an Earl Woods Scholar. This unique scholarship program holds a very special place in my heart. It reminds me of the Chinese proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” TWF took me on an adventure into the professional world; it introduced me to summer internships and a diverse set of tools necessary for professional development, including resume writing, interviewing and networking. My mentors from TWF not only helped me grow professionally, but they spent time helping me grow personally. They helped me develop the “I can” spark, encouraging me to believe in myself and strive for my dreams. 

My passion for medicine and health led me to continue my education in the Doctor of Pharmacy program at the University of New Mexico. Graduating from pharmacy school in May was truly a blessing, and I am forever grateful for that “I can” spark from TWF. This spark has enabled me to be proactive and accomplish many of my dreams in pharmacy school, whether it was to fully grasp my cardiology block or to provide health screenings in an underserved community. Over the years, I noticed myself persistently striving towards my goal of developing and maintaining a healthy community. My patients constantly motivate me to be a lifelong learner and provide the best healthcare possible. 

After graduation, I started working as a graduate pharmacist at the Lovelace Women’s Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I aspire to work with an inter-professional healthcare team along with my patients to ensure appropriate medication therapy, patient safety and patient education. I will continue to embrace the many opportunities to serve my patients and work towards my dream of becoming an ambulatory care pharmacist and a clinical educator.

Champions of the unexpected for 20 years.