Ruth Madievsky, Future Pharmacist/Poet

Growing up the daughter of a physician and a pharmacist, Ruth Madievsky always saw herself going into a health care profession.

“In my household, helping people was part of my family life,” said Madievsky, a native of Moldova who moved to the United States when she was 2 years old. “My parents were very big influences, and health care seemed like a very natural direction for me.”

IMG_8818Now a PharmD candidate at USC Mann, Madievsky first got involved in pharmaceutical studies as an undergraduate in the USC Trojan Admission Pre-Pharmacy student. The TAP program provides talented USC undergraduates with priority admission to the school’s four-year Doctor of Pharmacy program.

“I’m specifically interested in ambulatory care pharmacy possibly specializing in HIV or oncology,” she says. “I want to work directly with patients.”

Madievsky is currently an intern at the Mission Road Pharmacy, where she helps out by calling doctors’ offices, handling prescription transfers, and providing patients with phone counseling.

“I’m excited about all the things I can already do as a pharmacy student – volunteering at health fairs and counseling patients,” she says. “I’m able to tangibly apply what I’m learning, and I’m already getting glimmers as to what my career is going to be like.”

Madievsky hopes to heal people with both her knowledge of pharmacy and her words – she is a published poet who would like to also get an MFA in poetry.

“Reading and writing can be another form of healing. While pharmacy helps people heal physically, literature helps heal the soul,” she says.

RHINO: The Poetry Forum and The Paris-American have both published her poetry, and Madievsky attended a one-month trip with USC to Paris last summer that focused on poetry writing. This summer, she attended the Tin House Summer Writer’s Workshop in Portland, Oregon.

Her poems have already earned her recognition. In addition to being a finalist in various writing contests, Madievsky was one of only four students chosen to receive a Phi Kappa Phi Award, based on a collection of 25 poems she submitted along with a bio and explanation of her writing.

In ten years, Madievsky sees herself as a pharmacist at an outpatient clinic or hospital where she will work with patients with chronic diseases.

“I’m very interested in gene therapy, and excited about the new direction pharmacy is taking towards personalized medicine,” she says.

Of course, she also has dreams of pursuing her writing ambitions as well.

“Hopefully I’ll have come out with my first published poetry collection too. Ideally, wherever I end up, I’ll be making a difference in people’s lives, both tangibly and intangibly, through science and through art.”


By Ruth Madievsky

the gypsum and rolling hills of Bessarabia,
where the scent of almonds
lingers above fields of velvet grapes,
and the wine is as sweet as its name, Isabella.

I come from a nation between two rivers,
a city named for a spring.

I come from women who lived through their hands,
who sewed dresses for Bucharest’s elite,
before buying two horses and a carriage
and disappearing from home in the night.

I come from city girls displaced by war to Kazakhstani villages,
from singing Russian songs while sowing buckwheat.
I come from the one-year-old daughter lost to typhoid on the journey
and the lilies left by strangers at her grave.

I come from the marriages of widows to widowers,
from the Torah read in attics by candlelight.
I come from the KGB tearing white keys off the piano
in search of diamonds.
There were no diamonds.

I come from women who licked the sweetness from flowers
and hid violets under their tongues.
I come from men who joined the army
with unsent letters to their fathers in their pockets
and who fell asleep reading them in the desert snow.

I come from Kishinev, Chernivtsi, Kiev, Rostov-on-Don—
lands of sunflowers and sugar beets,
of sour cherries and cornmeal mamaliga.
of finding hedgehogs in the bushes
and climbing haystacks in the brassy sun after school.

I come from girls with paper dolls in place of siblings,
girls who smothered tawny chicks with their hugs.
I come from boys who chalked their names on abandoned buildings,
boys who leapt like acrobats from second-story windows
and ran home with sprigs of olive in their hair.

I come from women who assembled rifles
in their eighth month of pregnancy
and from army men moved to tears by Chagall.

I come from bottomless bowls of bouillon, borscht and kasha,
from poppy seed loaves shaped by pianist fingers,
from honeyed black tea in fading porcelain cups.

I come from morning symphonies of don’t rush
and what took you so long?,
from eat cabbage to make your breasts grow
and keep a safety pin in your underwear for luck.

I come from baby teeth under the bed for the Tooth Mouse
and from the men who wrapped these teeth in velvet
and hid them in tiny plush boxes,
like jewels.