Commencement Spotlight: Pooja Singh, PharmD ’24, BS ’20

Singh was the PharmD Class student speaker USC Mann School’s 2024 Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 11.

Pooja Singh’s passion for the field of pharmacy started in fifth grade, spurred by her father’s commitment to caring for the underserved at his independent pharmacy. The Westchester, Calif., native grew up with a firsthand view of the difference pharmacies make in people’s lives, working as a clerk and later as an intern pharmacist while enrolled at USC Mann.

Having majored in pharmacology and drug development here as an undergraduate, Singh calls continuing at USC Mann as a PharmD student the “clear choice.” And by exposing her to the many different paths offered by pharmacy, the school enabled Singh make another choice. She would honor her father’s service to the community by helping drive innovation in the pharmaceutical industry to improve health in communities everywhere.

Singh (right) and her younger sister (left) at their father’s independent pharmacy in Bell, Calif. (Photo courtesy of Pooja Singh)

Singh quickly demonstrated her own commitment, as her first year in the program was marked by the pandemic. Amid online classes, she volunteered at flu and COVID-19 vaccine clinics operated by USC Mann and Keck Medicine of USC. She also aided in vaccine distribution on USC campuses and at Dodger Stadium—one of the largest vaccination sites in the U.S.

She was an active campus leader throughout her PharmD studies. Along with serving as the class president for the PharmD Class of 2024, she joined the American Pharmacy Student Alliance (APSA)—USC Mann’s largest student organization—as a first-year representative. She was then elected president of the USC chapter of the American Pharmacists Association/California Pharmacists Association (APhA/CPhA) under APSA.

It was also through APSA that Singh closely worked with USC Mann faculty member Richard Dang. Dang’s mentorship, she says, was “instrumental” to her pharmacy journey.

“I recall times in Pooja’s undergraduate years when she would be eager to volunteer and contribute to our school’s health fair events,” Dang says. “She would work longer shifts than her peers, and that dedication stayed with her through her time in the PharmD program.”

Singh (center) at the White Coat Ceremony in 2021, which was delayed one year because of the pandemic. From left: her sister, father, Singh, mother and Tyler Gallagher (Singh’s partner and fourth-year MD/MPH candidate at Keck School of Medicine of USC) (Photo courtesy of Pooja Singh)

“I am profoundly grateful for his mentorship and privileged to have him as a role model and friend,” Singh says of Dang. “Without his guidance, I would have never considered running for a state-level position with the CPhA—a decision that has profoundly expanded my horizons.”

In 2023, Singh was elected president of the CPhA Academy of Student Pharmacists (CPhA-ASP) and to the CPhA Board of Trustees as student trustee. “Working with student pharmacists across the state has instilled in me a sense of optimism and enthusiasm for the future of pharmacy,” Singh notes. “I am excited to see how the profession evolves over the course of my career and the new heights to which the future generation of pharmacists will take us.”

Given her leadership roles and academic achievements, it’s no surprise that Singh has garnered numerous honors at USC. Upon graduation from the Mann School’s bachelor’s program, she was named USC Renaissance Scholar, USC Discovery Scholar and Prize Winner, and received the Order of Troy for notable contributions to the university community. In 2022, she received the academic excellence award, given to students with the highest cumulative GPA upon induction into the Rho Chi Pharmacy Honor Society.

Singh at a USC Football game with friends. (Photo courtesy of Pooja Singh)

Upon completion of the PharmD program, Singh will begin a postdoctoral fellowship in Regulatory Affairs and Global Value & Access with Amgen in partnership with the Rutgers Pharmaceutical Industry Fellowship Program. The education and mentorship she received at USC Mann have prepared Singh to embark on this next chapter “with confidence and determination,” she says.

“USC Mann has equipped me with the skills, knowledge and network necessary to do my share in helping shape the future of healthcare,” Singh says.

Singh was the PharmD Class student speaker USC Mann School’s 2024 Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 11. Learn more about commencement at

Jinny Kim contributed to this story.