Alumna Follows Mom's Footsteps into Pharmacy

Krista BurnhamKrista Burnham ’11, PharmD ’14 practically grew up in the lab.

Burnham’s mother owns Creative Compounds, a pharmacy in Wilsonville, Ore., and Burnham started working there as soon as she could drive.

But becoming a pharmacist herself wasn’t a forgone conclusion.

“When I was younger, I didn’t want to be a pharmacist,” Burnham said.

It took her some time to find the path that was right for her.

“I knew I wanted to go into the medical field, but I didn’t know what I wanted,” she said. “I just wanted to go to a smaller school, so I chose Pacific.”

She explored a bit as an undergraduate, settling on a major in chemistry — and ultimately determining that her future might lead her in her mother’s footsteps.

“I really liked chemistry classes, and pharmacy is a lot of chemistry and people interaction,” she said. “I decided I was pretty good at it.”

Working with the Pacific University Career Development Center, Burnham was able to complete her undergraduate degree while following a pre-pharmacy track that got her early admission to the doctor of pharmacy program in Pacific’s College of Health Professions.

“I didn’t have to worry as much my last year about where I would go to pharmacy school,” she said. “And, I got a really good education. When I went to pharmacy school, I was a little ahead of some kids, and it wasn’t completely terrifying.”

Pacific’s School of Pharmacy offers a fairly rare three-year track to a doctoral degree in pharmacy. Students study on a modified block design, focusing one topic at a time before moving to the next content area. The entire third year of the program is devoted to advanced clinical experience.

Burnham completed her doctorate in May 2014 and immediately went to work at Creative Compounds with her mom.

“At first, she wanted to make sure I really wanted to be a pharmacist,” Burnham said. But now, “Now she’s pretty happy I did. She’s happy to have me working here with her.”

And for herself, Burnham is glad she chose this route.

Creative Compounds is a compounding pharmacy, meaning they make medications specifically for people who need something other than a mass-produced prescriptions.

“I am never bored. Every day there’s a new weird problem,” she said. “I really love it.”

Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014