The key to student success at Pacific is rooted in the teaching and mentoring of faculty members like Sachin Shah, PharmD, associate professor of pharmacy practice and regional coordinator for Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield. Mentors often seek out opportunities to offer others guidance and support because they themselves had inspiring mentors.
“Since a young age, I was attracted to a career in the pharmaceutical industry,” said Dr. S. Shah. A summer internship at Pfizer inspired him to pursue postdoctoral fellowship training.
“I was fortunate to do my fellowship under Drs. C. Michael White and Craig Coleman at Hartford Hospital and University of Connecticut,” he said. “That fellowship was unique because it provided a well-rounded and robust platform that would allow me to flourish in the pharmaceutical industry and academic settings.”
While some of Dr. S. Shah’s colleagues went into the pharmaceutical industry, he went into academia because he enjoyed teaching and was attracted to “the research autonomy and intrapreneurial environment it provided.”
Jeremy Lim ’12, PharmD completed his Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience rotation with Dr. S. Shah. “[He] consistently pushed me to my full potential and encouraged me to think critically,” Dr. Lim said. “He has a unique ability in identifying areas that students struggle in and is able to customize his teaching style to fit their needs.”
Dr. S. Shah’s individualized approach to his teaching has helped many students secure postgraduate training. He was instrumental in helping Dr. Lim secure a clinical development fellowship with Rutgers Pharmaceutical Industry at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.
“He knew that I had an interest in the pharmaceutical industry and encouraged me to apply for the […] fellowship program,” Dr. Lim said. “As is typical for Dr. Shah, he also went further and gave me experiences that made me a strong candidate. He mentored me in writing research protocols, submitting grants and gave me exposure to help conduct a small clinical trial that he was running at David Grant United States Air Force Medical Center.”
“I believe that the high placement rate of students in his region who received offers of fellowships, residencies and positions in industry and clinical hospitals speaks for his mentorship and dedication to his students.”
Tinh An “April” Nguyen ’16, PharmD is also grateful for Dr. S. Shah’s mentorship. She was selected for the inaugural regulatory affairs fellowship at Biogen.
“Dr. Shah has had a tremendously positive impact on my professional development and personal career goals,” Dr. Nguyen explained. “I believe that the high placement rate of students in his region who received offers of fellowships, residencies and positions in industry and clinical hospitals speaks for his mentorship and dedication to his students.”
Dr. S. Shah believes that students who do well are often those with a “strong motivation to learn and improve. Clarity of goal and strategic persistence is key. […] There is no magic formula. However, there is a formula for failure — not trying.”
Kunal Shah ’17, PharmD can attest to the notion of learning and improving through failure. “The best lesson I’ve learned from Dr. Shah was one that he never explicitly told me. It was that failure is the most important part of the process because nothing is done perfectly on the first attempt. I had many moments with him where I knew my work did not meet his expectations, but I was always encouraged to try again and do better.”
Dr. K. Shah is currently a visiting scientist fellow at Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis, Indiana.
How can students prepare themselves for success? “Start early! Why wait on luck for an opportunity to come to you?” Dr. S. Shah said. “Be hungry for knowledge and have drive. Start knocking on the doors of faculty, friends, friends of friends and create opportunities for yourself.”
Dr. K. Shah agrees, “Figure out what you want to do early on, do your research on how to get there and do not be afraid to ask people for advice!”
Drs. Lim and Nguyen credit their success to their mentor, but Dr. S. Shah believes it is the students who are the champions. “I wish for all my students to flourish,” Dr. S. Shah said. “Seeing my students achieve their dreams makes me happy.”
By Dua Her '09