“In it for the Long Haul” Taya Kerwin, ’18, on Pursuing a Doctor of Pharmacy

Taya Kerwin, ’18, is a person who describes herself as “in it for the long haul.” While some students may enjoy the opportunity to try different sports and programs across their time at Dublin, Kerwin is someone who picked her sports at Dublin freshman year, and, as a senior, she is still pursuing her careers in sailing, theatre, and tennis.

Taya onstage in City of Angels

Taya onstage in City of Angels

“I get involved, and I like to grow into what I am doing,” she describes.

“I like that you feel really committed to whatever you are doing,” says Kerwin. “You see yourself growing into a leadership program. You watch your leaders when you are young and think, ‘I can do that.’ And then you take time and practice to figure out how.”

Selecting a college and a program is no different for Kerwin; she was looking for a field to which she could commit herself and through which she could grow.

This spring, Kerwin decided to matriculate at the University of Rhode Island’s Doctor of Pharmacy Program. This is a zero-to-six program, meaning that, after six years of school, you can call her Dr. Kerwin.

“I was thinking of going into medicine as a career, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted,” she says. “My mom brought up pharmacy, and so we started looking into it. In some programs, you go two years of pre-pharmacy, and then you take an exam to get into a program after that. In a zero-to-six program, if you maintain a certain GPA, you are guaranteed to continue through your doctorate.”

Recently, Kerwin visited URI’s campus, and she had the opportunity to tour the pharmacy classrooms. 

 “They have a new pharmacy building and a bunch of cool hands-on models and equipment,” she elaborates. 

Within the Doctor of Pharmacy program, there are a variety of tracks. 

“There’s clinical pharmacy, and then research-oriented tracks or you can work for a big pharmaceutical brand,” she says. “I’m leaning toward clinical pharmacy, but I am not entirely sure.”

Taya Kerwin

Taya Kerwin

Kerwin’s inspiration for wanting to pursue a degree in medicine comes from her grandmother.

“My grandmother was one of two women to graduate in her class as an anesthesiologist in the 1950s,” says Kerwin. “She worked in Peterborough for a really long time. I heard one story from my dad. They grew up on a farm infested with these little rabbits when my dad was a kid. And my dad remembers that instead of killing the rabbits brutally, my grandmother put them in a bag and used a drug to kill them peacefully.”

Kerwin reflects that the stories she heard about her grandmother and knowing that her grandmother was one of two women to graduate in her degree program had always held significance, but it was not until more recently that her interest in medicine began to sharpen. 

“My interest in medicine has been more recent,” she says. “When I was little, I wanted to be an archaeologist, and then I started gravitating toward this. My mom works in a hospital, so I had been around hospitals a bunch. I know some people hate hospitals. I always really liked hospitals. I was used to them.”

Taking AP Biology and Anatomy at Dublin taught Kerwin more about specific fields that will intersect with her Doctor of Pharmacy. She knows that in her program, she will take Organic Chemistry, which will be similar to what she has studied at Dublin; however, much will be new and different.

“It is going to be very different from anything I have done before,” says Kerwin. “I have never lived away from home. I have never been in one specialized program, where everyone is trying to prepare me for one goal. I’m excited.”

What will remain the same is her decision to commit herself to a pursuit, to learn as much as she can, and to grow into a leader.