Many stories we hear often talk about an individual who motivated us to chase our dream career. For Nicole Martinez ’12, her interest in pharmacy started with an admiration of one pharmacist, Dr. Douglas Wilcox ’74. While working as a dance instructor in his daughter’s dance studio, Martinez would volunteer under Wilcox at his independent pharmacy in the Central Valley. He recognized her passion and professionalism in the field and recommended that she continue her education in pharmacy. Wilcox encouraged her to look into the program at Pacific and the rest, as they say, is history. “After speaking with Dr. Wilcox about Pacific, and after some research, I found Pacific was the only school in California that offered an accelerated doctor of pharmacy program,” said Martinez.

Martinez earned her bachelor’s in chemistry at California State University, Fresno in 2008, and credited this as another key decision in becoming a pharmacist. “I became fascinated by transition state analogs, which are temporary molecular structures found in the body, and how knowing the form of these structures enable drug design. This sparked my interest in drug function and design,” she said. During her time at Pacific, Martinez moved forward in the program and cultivated new relationships with specific faculty members. “I feel Pacific is a place where professors know their students by more than just an ID number or familiar face. Dr. Nancy DeGuire ’89, also known as my ‘UOP Mom,’ was the most welcoming to me. I immediately bonded with her. She has been there for me throughout my hardships and the joyful experiences at Pacific. I am also grateful to have worked with Dr. William Kehoe ’96. He has provided invaluable insight into the profession of pharmacy and expanded my clinical knowledge. At Pacific you truly become part of a family with networking opportunities and colleagues willing to help one another. I am glad to be part of the ever-evolving success,” said Martinez.

All the hard work at Pacific landed her a spot on a pediatric medicine rotation at the Children’s Hospital Central California and she “fell in love with helping the pediatric population.” The hospital is the second largest in California, and the facility is one of the only 10 largest pediatric hospitals of its kind in the nation. The time and experience at the hospital allowed her to “teach patients and moms how to use inhalers, provide recommendations in order to optimized drug therapy, manage children on warfarin (a blood thinner), and work closely with physicians, nurses and pharmacy students.” Martinez also commented she loves kids and feels comfortable working in the environment. “There was this child who made me laugh and smile almost every day,” she said.

Martinez was born and raised in Kerman, California and enjoys baking, dancing, fishing, walking her dog and spending time with her family. The love and support from her family helped shape the person she has become today. Martinez continues moving forward in her pursuit to follow her next dream, which is becoming a highly regarded pediatric pharmacist. “Pacific has given me the opportunity to complete one of the most important tasks in my life, earning a doctor of pharmacy degree. My graduation and recent successes have brought a new found happiness to my family and loved ones. I am happier than ever and look forward to my future career.”

By Ben Herrera '10, '13
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