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Doyon Foundation Student Profile: Samantha Smith

Doyon Foundation student Samantha Smith always knew she wanted to work in the health care field. But it wasn’t until she got a job as a pharmacy technician with Southcentral Foundation that her career plans solidified, and she decided to become a pharmacist.

“I was not exactly sure on what I wanted with my education until I started working as a pharmacy technician, and this is when I realized that pharmacy was the right career choice,” Smith said. “I encourage students to explore jobs and take on summer internship opportunities in their field of interest. Once you have focus, and short-term and long-term goals, your education goes a lot smoother.”

Smith, originally from Northway, Alaska, is now living in Albuquerque, N.M., where she is studying pharmacy at the University of New Mexico’s College of Pharmacy. She expects to graduate with a PharmD in May 2012, and hopes to return to Alaska to work as a pharmacist clinician for the Indian Health Service.

Now that Smith knows what she wants to do career-wise, she has gotten involved in promoting interest in the health profession amongst other Native students.

“I enjoy talking to younger students about my experience in professional school and giving tips on how to get into a professional school. I also enjoy tutoring my fellow classmates and undergraduate students,” she said. Some of Smith’s advice on this topic is included in the “tips for success” section of this e-newsletter.

As a 2008 – 2009 Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipient, Smith said the support she has received from the Foundation “has helped me tremendously financially towards pursuing my education.”

“There is no pharmacy school in Alaska and out-of-state tuition is hardly affordable,” she said. “It is easier to focus on getting the best education possible without money woes. I want to know that I obtained all the knowledge possible to help my patients in the future.”

Smith also thanked her family and her fiancé Bruce for their unconditional support.

“It is the love and encouragement my family possesses that helps me get through my toughest days,” said Smith, who is the daughter of Richard and Lois Smith, and the granddaughter of the late Tilman and Katherine Smith, and Julius Sam and the late Jenny Albert.