“I enjoy supporting people. I enjoy seeing people grow.”—John Lee
Recognized by his classmates as a natural born leader, third year pharmacy student John Lee has been a source of inspiration in the University of British Columbia’s PharmD program.
“John is an extremely inspiring person and I don’t think he realizes it,” says Elisa Colasurdo, a fellow PharmD student. “The profession of pharmacy, as well as school life in general, is full of challenges. We need people like John to step up and say, ‘There’s so many things going on, let’s just take it bit by bit.’” He’s the one who inspires people to come together.”
Lee’s love for pharmacy grew in his second year of undergraduate studies through an introductory course in pharmacology. Since entering the PharmD program in 2018, Lee has become an integral member of the program, serving as first year representative, marketing director, and most recently, vice president internal with the UBC Pharmacy Undergraduate Society. In these roles, Lee has advocated for pharmacy students through professional development opportunities.
“I kind of see what we’re learning in school right now in pharmacy as becoming a lot more focused, specialized,” says Lee. “I think in the future there will be a lot more pharmacists working as specialists, in primary care clinics, ambulatory care, even in digital health. I think pharmacists are getting involved in more niche areas and that is one way pharmacists can really push for their profession.”
The student has also taken an active role in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences as a summer research student, academic assistant and project assistant, most notably supporting the preparation of virtual coursework in the wake of COVID-19.
Many of Lee’s fellow students appreciate his approachable nature.
“Over the last few years I’ve really seen how much he cares for everyone in our class and how he wants us to succeed cohesively, as a class,” says Sonali Rishi. “He’s always either sharing notes with us or reminding us of important deadlines.”
Adds his friend Tom Sun, “He has a kind heart. He just wants everybody to achieve their full potential. He gives me the space to work, but also lets me seek help if I need it.”
Lee hopes his experience with student government will help shape his future career opportunities, and by proxy, his fellow pharmacists.
“I’ve always liked getting involved with advocacy,” he says. “In the future when I am practicing as a pharmacist, I would like to stay involved in advocacy, whether that’s joining on committees with the College [of Pharmacists of BC] to be that voice for my fellow pharmacists. Hopefully, through that I am able to push for change.”
- profile by Angela Poon