Big Dreams Big Outcomes

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Big Dreams … Big Outcomes

New pharmacy building at UNMC is ‘greatest present,’ student says.

You often can find her upstairs, in one of the cozy red chairs by the windows. It’s a perfect place to study.

It’s a perfect place to dream.

“The chairs look kind of weird, like half an egg, but they’re really comfortable,” says Patricia Malinowski, a third-year student in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. “And the windows all around make it so light. Sometimes I just look at my notes and then look out the windows, trying to remember what my notes just said.

“And sometimes I just stare out those windows and daydream.”

That study area is one of her favorite places in the college’s new building – the UNMC Center for Drug Discovery and the Lozier Center for Pharmacy Sciences and Education – which opened its door for students in August.

This building, she says, gives students like her the high-tech environment necessary to become better pharmacists for the people they’re going to help across Nebraska and the nation. But this building also seems to go way beyond its blueprint somehow, she says, in a way that’s hard to explain.

“It probably sounds kind of cheesy, but being in a building like this really inspires us students to care more – to dream big – about what we can do within the profession,” Patricia says.

“I think some really big ideas are going to come out of this building.”

Patricia is a people person. She’s president of her College of Pharmacy class at UNMC.

Once the building opened, she soon discovered those cozy red chairs, and that area on the second level became her favorite place to meet her friends to study.

“There are many group-study areas here,” Patricia says. “I love that. I’m a big group person, and I would not have come this far without my friends. We can help each other. In our old building, we didn’t have any group-study areas.”

She sits now for this Pride of Place interview in another cozy space inside this new building, a quiet nook on the ground floor right under the stairs. Nearby is another favorite space, the patient stimulation rooms. She recently had a lab there in which she got to “mock-counsel” a patient with Type II diabetes and then a kid with Type I diabetes.

“No, I’m not going to take insulin at that time of day.”

What should she say?

So why should people have pride in this place?

“Well, it’s just gorgeous,” Patricia says, “and it’s a lot more conducive to learning than our old building was. We have a lot more space, we have a lot more resources, like back here, all these patient stimulation rooms – we don’t get a lot of practice with patient interaction in school, and that’s such a large part of our job, so it’s nice that we’re going to get more practice with that now.”

Yet this new building, she says, also feels “really homey.”

Patricia grew up in St. Louis, the daughter of two engineers. Up the street lived some close family friends who were from Nebraska. They both were pharmacists who’d graduated from UNMC. Patricia decided to follow their path. She graduated from UNL with a degree in biochemistry and then came to UNMC.

She’s grateful her path led her here.

She loves the field of pharmacy. It’s a perfect fit, she says, because she loves interacting with people and helping them in practical and intangible ways. Lifesaving ways.

“I really love the relationships you build,” she says. “I like that accessibility. I feel like in pharmacy, more than in any of other health professions, you really have an instructing-type of relationship with people versus the relationship people sometimes have with physicians. People can get kind of afraid of physicians. But people don’t have any issues going to their local pharmacists. People feel they can ask them about anything, and I like that. And I like being able to take something like medication, which scares a lot of people, and explain it in a way that doesn’t scare them.”

Each of the three floors in this new $35 million building is the length of a football field. The facility sits in the center of campus just south of the Ruth and Bill Scott Student Plaza. The official dedication was held there last August. Patricia was there. She stood at a podium before donors and other dignitaries at a dinner.

She felt a little scared. What should she say?

She wanted to be a sincere voice and face – a window through which those important people could see how much the new building meant to students.

She looked up from her speech and saw smiling faces.

She relaxed.

She told them how the resources and advances in technology will help students move the field of pharmacy forward and help them become health care leaders. She talked about the patient simulation rooms and the building’s homey feel and some of its other amazing features:

The model pharmacy, which is so much better than the old one, and the sterile preparation rooms.
The two state-of-the-art Joseph D. & Millie E. Williams Auditoriums with tiered seating and recording capabilities, which may not sound that impressive, she said, “but trust me, it is something that is greatly appreciated among students.”
The amazing labs in the UNMC Center for Drug Discovery on the third level, which not only allow for groundbreaking discoveries of drugs to fight emerging infectious diseases around the globe, she said, but also provide more opportunities for student researchers, “which will help lay the foundation for our next generation of drug discoverers.”

The opening of the new building, she told them, reminded her of how she felt as a kid on Christmas morning unwrapping a big gift.

From the moment you write your list to Santa, you begin to dream about all those shiny new toys in your life and the fun you will have when they arrive,” she says. “This period of anticipation and dreaming is how I would describe my first two years of pharmacy school. Throughout these years, my classmates and professors alike took notes on the shortcomings of our former building and dreamed about how the updates in this new building would not only improve our learning, but the practice of pharmacy as a whole.”

She smiled.

“My only disappointment is that I have one year to enjoy classes in this new building,” Patricia says. “But I’m excited for the future generations of pharmacists to become inspired and passionate about our field within those walls.”

And she thanked the crowd, on behalf of all students, for making their dreams come true – “big dreams that will turn into ideas that will turn into outcomes.”

Student support is one of the priorities of the University of Nebraska’s Our Students, Our Future fundraising initiative, which is helping to make better futures for us all. The two-year, $200 million initiative seeks gifts in support of students and goes through 2017.
If you would like to help promising students like Patricia make the world a better place, please contact the University of Nebraska Foundation at 800-432-3216 or send us a message.

Share this story:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Looking for more stories?