Meet Cindy Dang and Dong June Lee, first-year students in the USC School of Pharmacy’s Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program. They’re typical pharmacy students in many ways except one – they’re married!
Having spent much of their undergraduate career together at UC Irvine, the couple married in April 2015, with an ultimate goal of eventually entering the field of pharmacy together while exploring different pathways within the profession. “We have very different interests and passions,” Cindy explains.
While at UC Irvine, Cindy worked in a lab that was focused on identifying new techniques to further the study of Alzheimer’s disease, an experience that fueled her dream to become a pharmacist working on clinical trials, helping bridge the gap between researchers and patients. Dong June, who has a background as a small business owner, says he has been especially inspired by Professor Steven Chen’s work in safety-net clinics.
They felt the USC School of Pharmacy, with its many dual-degree programs and opportunities to specialize, was the best program to help the two of them achieve their different career objectives, Dong June says. “The reason why we decided to pursue a PharmD program at USC is because of its unique program allowing students to tailor their experience to develop an expertise based on their passion.”
Dr. Susie Park, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, notes that while many USC School of Pharmacy students have found their future spouse at School, Cindy and Dong June are the first in recent memory to have entered the class already married to each other. “Their shared commitment to pharmacy is inspiring,” said Dr. Park. “It was recommended on their first day of Pre-Orientation, however, to pursue different career pathways within pharmacy. There are so many areas of practice in this field, that they are each likely to work in diverse areas related to pharmacy and pharmacology.”
Now, halfway into their first semester at the School, Cindy and Dong June have found unique advantages to being married pharmacy students. They can quiz each other on the top 300 drugs while driving to school together, for example.
“We know that we have very good synergism when we study together,” Cindy says. “We are each other’s best study partner, complementing each other’s weaknesses and helping each other grow.”