From Newman student to doctor of pharmacy

Mar 12, 2020
Kristen Machacek

Kristen Machacek knew she wanted to pursue a doctor of pharmacy degree before she ever started college. Her curiosity and interest in the health care field was triggered when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 6 years old

“Growing up with an autoimmune disease/chronic illness means I have been dependent on medications (insulin) every day since I was diagnosed,” explained Machacek. “I had been interested in the health care field for a long time and decided on pharmacy after doing more research into different fields within health care during my senior year of high school.”

Newman’s track record of student admission into medical school, along with the successful bowling team, convinced Machacek to become a Jet.

Her academic track differed compared to most students. Those seeking a doctorate in pharmacy often choose to complete a bachelor’s degree but it’s not a requirement. Machacek chose to focus on science classes and finish her pre-requisites for the program in three years.

She is currently attending the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy and plans to graduate in 2023. She is thankful for the skills and knowledge she obtained at Newman that are helping her succeed in professional school.

“One of the biggest ways Newman helped prepare me for my future was through the level of science classes they offer. As a whole, Newman’s professors expect a lot from their students, which makes it challenging but ultimately benefits you in the long run.

“Dr. (Michael) Bradley’s physiology class and Dr. (David) Schubert’s organic chemistry classes helped me the most in preparing to take the PCAT (Pharmacy College Admissions Test),” she said.

She also appreciated the mock interviews the Newman University Medical Professionals Club provides for students seeking placement in medical schools.

“I was very scared going into it but I knew what to expect when I went for my real interviews. If you can survive a mock interview at Newman, you should do just fine in the real interview,” she said.     

Machacek spent her first year at Newman in Heimerman Science Center and was grateful for the incredible upgrade to the new Bishop Gerber Science Center.

“The labs are as nice as you can find anywhere and the setup of the classrooms is very similar to what students will experience in professional schools,” she said.

Overall, Machacek said she felt Newman prepared her well for the next step in her education.

“The faculty were all fantastic and willing to help with any questions I had, especially when I had to miss class for bowling tournaments.”

As a student-athlete, Machacek found that her time management skills improved immensely. That experience helps her as she balances school, work at Walgreens and work at the pharmacy at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center.

Kristen Machacek as a bowler at Newman University 2017-18

“Classes are much faster-paced and you really do need to study basically every night,” she said, noting her improved time management skills have been key to her success.

Though she heard that same advice about studying every night for her undergraduate degree, she says it’s much more important now because of the high volume of tests.

“Now I study every night, partially because we have an average of two tests per week this semester,” she said.

Machacek has two more years of classes and one year of clinicals before she graduates with her Doctor of Pharmacy.

“After I finish school, my plan is to pursue a residency (another one-two years). I would like to go into ambulatory care pharmacy to work directly with providers to adjust care plans for patients with chronic disease states. Having residency experience will make me more competitive in the job market as pharmacy residencies are becoming more and more popular.”