Funding a Dream | Alyssa Tuttle PharmD '15

Alyssa Tuttle PharmD '15
Two corporate scholarships are helping Alyssa Tuttle PharmD ’15 pursue her dream of serving patients as a pharmacist.

Tuttle grew up knowing a little something about hard work. Her mother was one of nine children in a family of immigrant farmworkers. She managed to go on to Dartmouth Medical School and become a pediatrician.

“She was the one who taught me to work hard,” Tuttle said.

Tuttle started working at 16, taking a customer service job at Target. When that wasn’t challenging enough for her, she went to work at Victoria’s Secret, where she started in sales and eventually worked up to co-manager. She simultaneously studied full time at the University of California, Fresno, to earn her bachelor’s degree.

Then, she got laid off — and she had to start thinking about what she really wanted to pursue for a career.

"Every little bit helps ... I feel like my hard work is appreciated and these people want to help me succeed."
Alyssa Tuttle PharmD '15

Her mother suggested pharmacy, and Tuttle spent four months earning her pharmacy tech license (while still in school full time) and got work at a compounding pharmacy while she finished school. Then, she started looking for graduate programs to become a pharmacist herself.

Pacific, she said, was in a beautiful location and offered an attractive three-year route to a doctorate. Plus, she got not one, but two scholarships to attend.

“Every little bit helps. Anything I can do to decrease the loan amount is beneficial,” she said. “And, I’ve never gotten a scholarship before. I feel like my hard work is appreciated and these people want to help me succeed.”

Getting laid off, she said, might have been a devastating experience. Instead, “It was the best thing that could have happened to me.”

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This story first appeared in the Fall 2013 – Philanthropy Edition issue of Pacific magazine. For more stories, visit

Friday, Oct. 4, 2013