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Jenna Caldwell is a current PY3 (c/o 2021) on our Asheville campus. She attended UNC-Charlotte for her undergraduate studies and earned her BA in chemistry with two minors in Biology and Psychology. Interestingly enough, she knew Peter Thao ( before pharmacy school as they worked on a Duke Energy Project together and remained close during their time in pharmacy school. Today, Sit with Senate’s Vera Pervitsky interviewed Jenna Caldwell.




SwS (VP): What motivated you to pursue pharmacy? Why did you choose to attend the Eshelman School of Pharmacy (ESOP)?

JC: “I loved chemistry class in high school because my high school chemistry teacher created a welcoming environment. My chemistry teacher told me about the pharmacy field and piqued my interest in this career path. During my undergraduate education, I got discouraged in organic chemistry because it was overwhelming. However, after talking to a sorority sister who was applying to pharmacy school at the time, she encouraged me to keep working hard. I decided to go to ESOP because I wanted to stay in North Carolina. One of the girls I went to undergrad with went to ESOP on the Asheville campus, and as soon as I visited, I fell in love with the people since everyone was so welcoming and wanted to get to know me. I interviewed in Asheville and got placed on the Asheville campus. At first, I was unsure about how my experience would be on a dual campus, but it has been wonderful. The Asheville campus feels like a small-town high school where everyone knows one another on campus, and I really like that aspect. I grew up in a small town and I thrive in more intimate settings where I have personal connections to everyone around me.”

SwS (VP): What field of pharmacy are you interested in and why?

JC: “I have always been super interested in retail pharmacy. I love knowing everyone’s background and day-to-day activities. However, I had a really great experience on my last rotation in ambulatory care where I was in an anticoagulation clinic two days per week and a new refill authorization pharmacy for the rest of the week at Mission Health. During this rotation, the clinical pharmacist practitioner evaluates refill authorization requests to see if the request is appropriate based on several parameters. I got to know the patients during this rotation, so I am now considering this pathway because I see how excited people get when I remember little things about them and they recognize that I care. Basically, I am considering either an ambulatory care residency or a community pharmacy residency.”

SwS: What activities/self-care measures do you participate in outside of school?

JC: “I enjoy watching Netflix, listening to true crime podcasts, and going to the gym in my free time. I think that going to the gym is really important because I feel better afterward and have a clearer headspace.”


Fun fact: Jenna has been an active participant on ESOP’s intramural volleyball team on the Asheville campus!

SwS (VP): What is the best advice you have ever received?

JC: “There are so many pieces of advice that I have received over the years. I was so used to doing well in undergrad. When I began school at ESOP, I noticed that I kept comparing myself to others and was discouraged when I was not the best of the best anymore. As soon as I stopped comparing myself to others in my class, I really started thriving inside and outside of school. I realized that there are so many things outside of school that are important. Being good at school is not going to be the number one priority all the time– if you are super stressed and you need a reality check, imagine yourself sitting on your front porch at 65 years old– will you remember the situation that you are stressing about? You are still a person underneath being a pharmacy student and this person matters. “

SwS (VP): What activities or roles did you partake in before applying for AEC Chair?Why did you decide to run for Asheville Executive Committee (AEC) Chair?

JC: “Before AEC Chair, I was AEC Secretary during my PY2 year. I helped organize the Endowment Gala through KE and the Asheville Summit. In undergrad, I was in a STEM Sorority at UNC Charlotte where I was a Membership Educator and Corresponding Secretary. I was AEC Secretary last year and I watched the previous AEC Chair fulfill their roles and responsibilities last year, particularly the wellness initiatives. I have always wanted to plan events and activities that people enjoy like Halloween parties, potlucks, and Asheville weekend. I had a similar role to AEC Chair during undergrad with some organizations that I was involved with, so I decided to apply for AEC Chair. I love this position because it allows me to take care of the student body as a whole and focus on wellness issues. I wanted to have the opportunity to check in with other students and act as a resource for the Asheville campus students.”

SwS (VP): To provide more information to those who may be considering applying for a position in Pharmacy Student Senate, can you talk about your responsibilities as AEC Chair?

JC: “I ensure that Asheville has a voice on all Senate meetings and facilitate discussion with the Deans. I organize the Fall Asheville Leadership Retreat and help promote social and wellness initiatives. Additionally, I work closely with other members of the Asheville Executive Committee. To sum this up, I am a primary facilitator for many people!”

SwS (VP): What has been the most rewarding aspect of being AEC Chair for you? Most challenging?

JC: “The most rewarding aspect has been planning big events and watching people have a good time, even though I get super stressed beforehand. I just really enjoy making a positive impact on others and love watching people connecting with one another from the events that I help plan. The most challenging aspect has been learning how to delegate tasks to other people without others thinking that I am too commanding or overly bossy.  Delegating tasks can be really hard. Dealing with conflict management can be exhausting, but thankfully conflicts seldom arise.”

SwS (VP): What characteristics/traits are important for one to possess as AEC Chair?

JC: “Positivity!!! Sometimes, in the thick of the semester, people are faced with burn out and can lose motivation to fulfill their tasks, but the Asheville Executive Committee needs to keep pushing forward!  Organizing leadership retreats and gatherings can re-motivate people and increase morale. Having the ability to delegate tasks is also important. It is also important to know that it is okay to say no — some opportunities will come up, but recognizing that sometimes, it is not the right time is integral. Lastly, stay balanced. It is important to take care of yourself too!”

SwS (VP): I know that you work closely with the Senate President. Can you talk about how you and Rachel Gilmore (Senate President) work together since ESOP is two campuses, but one school?

JC: “Rachel and I have worked well with one another since we were both involved in Senate Executive meetings last year. We recognize the importance of having open conversations to facilitate discussion and make people more vocal during meetings. As a result, all of our meetings between the Chapel Hill and Asheville campuses are on open microphones, so people can participate freely, and the agenda bounces back and forth between both campuses.”

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