Kaitlin Musick is a second year PharmD candidate at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy. Her hometown is Indianapolis, Indiana and she completed three years of undergraduate studies as a Human Nutrition major here at UK. Kaitlin recently pursued a research project, completing a quality analysis of the drug alvimopan. This research project pushed Kaitlin out of her comfort zone and allowed her the opportunity to collect patient data and analyze it to determine the efficacy of this medication in a specific patient population. In this project, Kaitlin was allowed a great deal of independence which gave her the opportunity to improve her problem-solving skills, as well as her confidence in her abilities. Kaitlin has passions in healthcare, academia, and clinical research. She stated, “I’ve always been fascinated by the body and how it works and adapts.” Kaitlin was led to a career in pharmacy because of her desire for close patient interactions and her love of pathophysiology and pharmacology. Growing up, Kaitlin looked up to her older sister, a Physician Assistant, as a role model. Kaitlin’s sister was the first in their family to go into the healthcare field and played a large role in encouraging Kaitlin to pursue a STEM career. Kaitlin has watched her sister excel in an academic, professional, and personal environment and truly values this mentorship, encouragement, and advice.
Although Kaitlin views the University of Kentucky as welcoming environment that encourages equal opportunity for all, she is compelled to fight an often-subconscious stereotype that women must choose between a career and family. “Being a woman in STEM means being able to challenge yourself intellectually, but also being willing to challenge the idea that society can tell you how to balance your career and life.” Kaitlin looks up to other female health care providers who have mastered the ability to balance a prestigious career, teaching, research, and family life. Overall, Kaitlin believes that women in STEM bring a new perspective to the healthcare field. She advises younger girls who want to pursue STEM to research career choices, reach out to current professionals, and get experience. Immersion in one’s field of interest is the best way to determine where your true passions lie and what your goals are moving forward. “Pharmacy is a great example of a profession that has shown a marked increase in the inclusion of women. I think this movement starts from the bottom: women in the field talking to and encouraging other young girls. Colleges of pharmacy have made it a goal to diversify their student population and the profession, and with this we have seen a great increase in female pharmacists.” Kaitlin is excited to be a woman in STEM because of the opportunity to mentor other young women as they work towards goals of their own. This comradery and support between women has benefitted Kaitlin greatly throughout her career and she hopes to continue to provide this support for others.