By Jacob French
With the seemingly hundreds of University of Findlay labeled items strewn throughout the house, it is clear to see that orange and black runs proudly through the veins of those that inhabit the small three-bedroom home on Swing Avenue. And all it takes is a quick look at the fridge to see the two white coat ceremony commemoration cards to understand that multiple pharmacy students are occupying the living quarters. Fourth-year pharmacy candidate Matthew Buchfeller is one of those students.
“I can remember my high school chemistry teacher talking to me about the different types of career choices that could be made with a chemistry or other science degree, and I remember him telling me that I should look into pharmacy,” Buchfellner recalled while sinking back into the old recliner in the front room. Originally from Brunswick, Ohio, he was surprised when he discovered that two of the nation’s six-year programs were located in his backyard. After attending the pharmacy summer camp at UF in high school, there was no going back in Buchfellner’s mind.
Being one of only nine schools in the United States of America that offer a unique 0+6 pharmacy program, Findlay offers a special, fast-tracked medical experience that will see students graduating with their Pharm D. in as little as six years. Although it is not required, Findlay also offers the pharmacy program students the opportunity to receive a Master of Business Administration along with their Pharm D. degree to give them an endless amount of opportunities upon graduation.
However, the shorter time frame is not the only thing that attracts prospective students to Findlay’s campus. Students like Buchfellner have found that there is a plethora of opportunities that allow the Oiler faithful to discover their passions outside of regularly scheduled class times.
“I loved Findlay, it felt like home […] and the rest is history I guess,” Buchfellner said with a chuckle and a grin. However, there was more to it than just a summer camp in his decision-making process.
“What I really liked about this [pharmacy] program specifically was the opportunities for undergraduate research,” Buchfellner said. “I’ve done research all four years here at the university and I love the fact that my freshman year I was able to get in and start participating in the research lab.”
Even as he says he dedicates the majority of his time to hitting the books, Buchfellner, who is a self-proclaimed “band nerd,” said that he greatly appreciates the chance to blow off steam performing as a saxophonist in the university’s jazz band. With all the time he spends perfecting his multiple crafts, it is no doubt that Buchfellner has encountered many friendly faces around the campus, and this is one of the things that he says he cherishes most about his time spent at Findlay.
With over 6,000 students (undergraduate and graduate included) attending the University of Findlay, it would almost be easy to overlook the six percent that make up the entire pharmacy program. But just because their numbers are small does not mean they are anything less than an exceptional group of hardworking individuals striving to make an impact in the medical world.
“My favorite part has got to be my friends that I have made while at Findlay. Our cohort is really close, and we hang out a lot so being able to meet others from different backgrounds and walks of life is an invaluable experience,” said Buchfellner. “Even if we move across the country and go to a bunch of different places, I know I’ll still have connections wherever I end up post-graduation.”
Although it seems like Matthew’s path was etched out in stone before he even reached Findlay’s campus, the path for all pharmacy majors is not the same.
Jeremy Trapp, a third-year pharmacy student at UF, has a much different experience that ultimately ended with him gaining entrance to Findlay’s doctoral program.
“I had actually originally looked at Findlay for pharmacy, but I had missed the application deadline, so they had already chosen the next group of students for the program,” Jeremy stated. However, this failed to stop him from still exploring the university on a campus tour and eventually deciding that this was undoubtedly where he best believed he could pursue his future career.
“When I started at Findlay, I was undecided, but I really liked the campus and the science department, so I knew I wanted to go here,” Trapp continued.
Due to the influence of his father being a doctor, Trapp knew that although he did not want to be a doctor, he still wanted to work in the medical field, just like his mother did in research labs. This eventually led him to begin his college career as a biology major, but after meeting some of the pharmacy program students, he had a change of heart.
“I started taking biology classes and I started making friends with a bunch of the pharmacy majors and they convinced me to look into the pharmacy program since I didn’t really know what to do with a biology degree,” Trapp admitted. “I figured I’d give it a try instead of just going for four years and ending up with a basic science degree.”
After months of back and forth speaking with the University and pharmacy recruitment representatives, Trapp was eventually accepted into the program and was able to begin the pursuit of his Pharm D. as an official doctoral candidate. Now having the chance to look back at it, Trapp can reflect back on how he became part of the pharmacy program and how much it means to him now.
“I really like that it’s like a family, you know? Everyone knows what we’re all going through, so I really like that aspect of it,” Trapp said.” I also like how the program is structured schedule-wise. The different levels of classes that build on each other make the flow of it all seem really nice and easy to follow.”
As seen by the varying paths that ultimately lead Buchfellner and Trapp to becoming Oilers, there is no one, specific reason that inspires students to attend Findlay, rather there are many. Everything from the friendly environment, professional experiences, all the way to limitless ways to utilize a Findlay degree, no two journeys are alike.