Discovery Spotlight

Derek Peterson, ACPHS Class of 2015

Derek Peterson '15 Doctor of Pharmacy

Derek Peterson came to the ACPHS Vermont Campus after earning his bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota. Up to that point, he had spent his entire life in his home state of Minnesota, so when he arrived in Colchester he was hoping for a change of pace and excited about beginning a new journey. He wasn’t disappointed.

Right from the start, he knew what he wanted after graduation: a clinical career in the pharmaceutical industry.

Though it is certainly not uncommon to find pharmacists working in industry, this is not the typical path taken by most Pharm.D.’s. Derek found that information about careers for pharmacists in the pharmaceutical industry was hard to come by so he formed a student chapter of the Industry Pharmacists Organization. The organization helped give him and his fellow Pharm.D. classmates deeper insights into the field by hosting various presentations, speakers, and activities.

“Pharmacy students should learn about industry early in their academic careers,” he advises. “So if it’s an area of interest, they are able to recognize the opportunities available and take advantage of them.”

Following graduation, he was accepted into the prestigious Rutgers Pharmaceutical Industry Fellowship Program and began a two-year fellowship at Bristol-Myers Squibb in Princeton, New Jersey.

His time at ACPHS prepared him well for his experience as a fellow where he works with healthcare practitioners; assesses competitors’ new medications; and prepares abstracts for scientific presentations, posters, and journal articles based on data from clinical drug trials.

“ACPHS faculty members are always willing to help students with research, writing papers, and creating scientific posters for conferences,” he says. He particularly appreciates the support he received from Drs. Sarah Peters and Joanna Schwartz, who helped him author an article that was published in a peer-reviewed journal.  

Derek is now well on his way to the next part of his journey—a successful career in industry.