Leah Ruggerone, ’18, and PY3 student Richard Lee were both selected for the UW Husky 100 from the School of Pharmacy in 2018. Each year, the Husky 100 recognizes 100 UW undergrad and grad students who are making the most of their time at the UW.
Leah grew up in Kenmore, WA, and attended UW as an undergrad, majoring in biology and spent
summers working with fisherman in a small Alaskan town. The 12-14 hour days, 7-day workweek prepared her for a career in the health sciences: “I learned a lot about hard work and communicating with diverse people.” For Leah, Pharmacy brings together the chance to care for people and her love of chemistry. She’s worked as an Educational Assistant with PY1 pharmacy students, volunteered at Kiwanis Camp Casey for kids with physical disabilities, and served in several leadership roles at UWSOP. Her Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) rotations brought experiences working with HIV patients, NICU infants, and older adults at Era Living. She learned to understand how different patient populations may struggle with their medications. “My advice to other students is to really get involved and take part in as many outreach events as you can,” she shared.
Richard applied to be an undergrad at the UW by candle light and paper forms after a typhoon devastated his community on the island of Guam. He was interested in pharmacy to help support his father who is battling cancer. A UW Global Brigades trip to Panama in 2013 changed his life’s work. Serving as campus chairperson he leads multiple brigade teams annually. He realized people in developing countries couldn’t afford EpiPens and there is no 911 to call in remote towns. After vetting the idea of a low-cost autoinjector, he began the EpiForAll project, a low-cost EpiPen with UW Engineering colleagues. They have since won multiple business development awards, been issued a utility patent, and are expanding a patent portfolio. Richard shared, “My uncle pioneered liver transplant surgery, conducting the first German liver transplant in 1969. His accomplishments motivate me to have a wider impact on the world. My father’s service for those in need has driven me to helping the underserved, domestically and globally.”
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