Feeling dissatisfied, Danai recalled her experience in college. She had been a pre-med student briefly and followed various medical professionals. Of all the health care providers she observed, the pharmacists seemed the happiest; and many of them were graduates of the Touro California College of Pharmacy. “They were the most committed,” Danai said. “I followed everyone from surgeons to podiatrists and heard the pros and cons of each profession, but pharmacy was the most appealing to me. This was a unique profession geared toward exactly what I wanted.”
Danai returned to her alma mater in 2020 to finish her prerequisites to apply to pharmacy school. A year later, a Google recruiter called her and convinced her to rejoin a different team, which she did for another year before moving to New York to join Touro College of Pharmacy (TCOP). “I was very attracted to Touro because of the public health aspect,” she said Danai. “In interviews I did with members of the school and through the website I appreciated Touro’s community work. One thing I love about pharmacy is how unique it is: you can’t get bored as there is so much to do whether you are working in retail, industry or clinic. I get bored very easily. Also, I have always been someone who is drawn to community programs. I’m a first-generation American and we’ve always wondered how we can help our community and I’m drawn to the idea of going out on the town to help others and embrace a whole new community.”
Moving to New York was also a difficult decision. Danai’s family is Afghan and she is part of California’s tight-knit Afghan community.
“A lot of people don’t push to leave the Bay Area,” Danai recounted. “Many of my cousins and members of our mosque have reached out to see what it is like to move to a different state. None of my brothers ever left and we are all very close, but I was excited for the adventure.”
As for her early experiences in New York, Danai said the stereotypes she’s heard about New York don’t ring true to her. “It’s been an adjustment,” she admitted Danai. “Everyone said no one in New York City smiles, but I don’t think that’s true. I smile and everyone smiles back.”
As for his future plans with a Pharm.D. Title in hand, Danai said that she wants to be a role model for women in her Afghan community, although as for the details of her career, she left it open.
“I change my mind all the time,” Danai laughed. “You can do a lot. I read about how pharmacists can have an impact on the creation of medicines in the field of oncology or how they can help fight diabetes; o how they can work clinically with patients one on one; the field is so big; you can have an impact in any sector you enter.”