Commencement Spotlight: Teny Khachadourian

Meet Teny Khachadourian, a Class of 2021 Trojan graduating with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacology and drug development. Here, she shares why volunteering on a hospital’s oncology floor solidified her decision to pursue pharmacy and how her experiences as an undergraduate student have prepared her for another four years at USC — this time as a PharmD student.

What originally attracted you to your field?

It all began on the oncology floor of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. My tasks as a volunteer were simple: Attend to the patients’ non-medical needs. However, one of the patients kept demanding that I provide him with hydrocodone until a code grey was eventually called. It was his monomaniacal desire for the opioid drug that initially drew me to the study of pharmacy. From that day forward, I decided that I wanted to become a pharmacist and serve as the first line of defense by facilitating the prevention and treatment of opioid use disorders. Pharmacists are responsible for educating patients and providing consultations to ensure that patients use medications properly. Studying pharmacy will allow me to act as a mediator between patients and physicians to advance medication adherence, and I know I’m pursuing a rewarding career because this kind of personalized attention yields better patient outcomes.

How did you come to the decision to pursue your degree at USC?

It wasn’t a decision, it was always my dream. I loved my experience during undergrad so much that I decided to stay for another four years. In fact, I only applied to one PharmD program — USC’s, of course.

How do you feel your experiences at USC have prepared you for this next chapter in your life?

My experiences in undergrad have prepared me well for pharmacy school as I had the opportunity to participate in several health fairs, virtual clinics with current pharmacy students, and the Lincoln Park COVID-19 vaccination clinic. But most importantly, USC has allowed me into its extensive family and Trojan network, ensuring that I’m never alone during this next chapter of my life.

Can you tell us about your post-graduation plans? What are you most looking forward to?

I’m starting my PharmD program at USC in the fall! Until then, I’m working as a pharmacy technician in an independent pharmacy. I’m looking forward to starting my P1 year at USC with my classmates from the undergraduate pharmacology and drug development program. It’ll be nice to see some familiar faces amongst many new ones in my classes.

What message would you like to share with your fellow members of the Class of 2021?

Congratulations to the Class of 2021 — nothing can stop us, not even a pandemic! Fight on!

Do you have any advice to the students who are following in your footsteps? 

Take advantage of every opportunity, from health fairs to research to joining clubs to internships in different fields. You can discover new interests in the most unexpected places.