Commencement Spotlight: Amen Obanor

The 2022-23 president of USC Pre-Pharmacy Society will speak on behalf of the Bachelor of Science graduates at the 116th USC Mann Commencement on Saturday, May 13, 2023.

Coming to USC from Clovis, Calif., Amen Obanor wanted to study topics that could be applied to everyday life and to serve as a credible source of drug education and safety for her community. Many communities, like her own, have lost students to drug overdoses, and she wanted to advocate for drug safety through education and overdose prevention.

She started her USC journey as a chemistry major, and later transferred to pharmacology and drug development—a program with a smaller focal point, she said.

“The program has significantly grown since I was a first-year student,” Obanor said, referring to the Mann School’s undergraduate program, which launched three years before she enrolled at USC. The program still feels small and tightly-knit, Obanor added. “The constant drive to bring students in the program together and hear student voices is why I am part of USC Mann,” she said.

Interacting with students, faculty and staff in the USC Mann program has been the highlight of her USC experience, she said. Every semester, the school holds an undergraduate social event, inviting all undergraduate students, faculty, and the dean. “The social was always something to look forward to because it was a time to reconnect with students and faculty outside of the classroom,” Obanor said.

Obanor joined the USC Pre-Pharmacy Society immediately after she arrived on campus, and after going to a few social events and health fairs, her connection with the society grew. Today, Obanor serves as president of the popular student group.

“The position allows me to bring the small pre-pharmacy community on campus together in one place,” Obanor said. “We take advantage of the togetherness by creating things that can support us.” 

Obanor with members of the USC Pre-Pharmacy Society at USC Village on September 6, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Amen Obanor)

“[The USC Pre-Pharmacy Society is] more than just an organization. To me, it’s the foundation that began my experience at USC Mann,” Obanor said. “It provided me with opportunities and a voice that I will carry with me into the future.”

Throughout her journey at USC, Obanor spearheaded initiatives that introduced students to pharmacy and health sciences. Her team at the USC Pre-Pharmacy Society created mentoring and peer support programs connecting current students to alumni and pairing first-year undergraduates with upper-level students. During her time at the society, USC served as host for the Southern California Pre-Pharmacy Symposium, which brings together pre-pharmacy organizations from seven universities.

Obanor and Daryl Davies, associate dean for undergraduate education and professor of clinical pharmacy, at a Pre-Pharmacy Society meeting. (Photo by Andrew Levy)

Obanor also contributed to the USC community as a resident assistant at USC Housing and as a participant in the USC Black Student Assembly, Pan-African Student Association and TACO (Team Awareness Combating Overdose).

Obanor encourages who are students interested in pharmacy to volunteer in organizations that work to better the lives of others. “Pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare professionals, so take the time to find out how it feels to be an accessible resource for care,” Obanor said.

Upon graduation, Obanor will pursue a doctor of pharmacy degree to achieve her goals.

Amen Obanor will speak on behalf of the Bachelor of Science graduates at the 116th USC Mann Commencement on Saturday, May 13, 2023.