A head start

Anastasiya Koshkina ’15 recently became the first student admitted into Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science’s College of Pharmacy as part of Lake Forest’s new dual degree program.

This means Koshkina, a biology major and chemistry minor at the College, will begin her first year as a doctor of pharmacy student at RFUMS this fall, and those classes will dually count toward her graduation requirements for Lake Forest. She plans to walk with her Forester classmates at commencement in May 2015.

The College offers similar dual degree programs with DePaul University and Rush University in Chicago for students interested in pursuing a master’s in nursing. These are appealing options for a student like Koshkina, who as a first-year undergraduate student knew she definitely wanted to pursue pharmacy, and who was willing and prepared to compact four years of already rigorous coursework into three.

Koshkina, a commuter student from Hawthorne Woods, Illinois and president of the biology honor society Beta Beta Beta, first learned about the pharmacy dual degree program from Vice President for Admissions and Career Services Bill Motzer during her tour of the College. Students expected to graduate with the Class of 2015 are the first with the option to take advantage of this new affiliation with RFUMS.

To facilitate the partnership, top representatives from RFUMS’s College of Pharmacy visited the College to meet with interested students.

“It was a chance for Lake Forest students to ask their questions in a small group of five or so students in a comfortable setting,” Koshkina remembers of her experience.

After the meeting, her academic advisor Karen Kirk, also the chair of the College’s health professions advisory committee, advised the group to write thank you letters to their visitors. Koshkina did. Then, she decided to attend an open house at RFUMS, which they do two times a year. This was pleasing to Koshkina, who found that other schools she was investigating did not offer similar programming for prospective students.

RFUMS is a good fit for Koshkina because “just like here at Lake Forest, professors know you by name and you work very closely with them,” she said. She also is excited about the inter-professional program, meaning she will work as part of a team of students from other health profession disciplines, and the yearly rotations that will allow her to experience all of the types of pharmacy practices, not just one. 

All in all, she is impressed with what she can expect from her doctorate experience there.

Lake Forest prepares students well to be successful in the RFUMS program, Kirk said, and that’s why RFUMS reaches out to Foresters as potential applicants of their programs. For this reason, even if a student completes their classes in the traditional four years instead of three, they still have a competitive chance for a spot at one of the College’s partner institutions, Kirk said.