Student Spotlight – Yasi Mojab

Meet Yasi Mojab, a dual-degree PharmD/MS, Pharmaceutical Sciences student who has helped facilitate the School’s international student summer program for the past two years, and has served as course facilitator in pharmaceutics and medicinal chemistry courses. Here, she shares what attracted her to the field of pharmacy and where she hopes her career will take her.

Can you share your experience helping with the International Student Summer Program? What has been your most memorable experience helping as a “super facilitator”?

It was an extraordinary experience to be part of this dynamic course which provided learning opportunities to a diverse group of students from over 20 universities around the world. Integrating four areas of pharmaceutical science, clinical treatment, health economics and regulatory science in one course created a unique and valuable academic program. The virtual setting of this course gave me a chance to learn the instructors’ side of the Blackboard which added greatly to my skill set, and it also gave a larger number of international students the opportunity to take part.

As a lead course assistant I had the opportunity to train 20 USC course assistants for the program, which helped them develop leadership and teaching skills. The program encouraged some of the international students to apply to pharmacy school at USC and at other schools in the U.S., and encouraged others to pursue masters degrees in other focus areas.

What attracted you to the field of pharmacy? Any particular moment(s) that made you stop and think, “This is the path I want to take?” What are your career aspirations?

I became fascinated by molecular structures and enantiomer (molecules’ chirality in racemic drugs) pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics in my undergraduate organic chemistry class at California Lutheran University. Later I had the privilege of working with Dr. Katherine Hoffmann, chair of the chemistry department at California Lutheran University, on  structural-based drug design research. The result of this research has been published in the Journal of Biochemistry under the title of “Cofactor Complexes of DesD, a Model Enzyme in the Virulence-related NIS Synthetase Family.” The structure of DesD which I worked on during my John Stauffer Fellowship is also published on Protein Data Bank (RCSB PDB). This research had an impact on my decision to pursue a doctor of pharmacy degree and continue research in computational chemistry.

Being part of the Summer International Program for the past two years and being involved in the PharmD curriculum as course facilitator in pharmaceutics and medicinal chemistry inspired me to add teaching to my other career aspirations within pharmaceutical sciences.

Why did you choose USC Mann and what’s one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had at the school so far?

I chose USC Mann because of its diverse curriculum which combines rigorous basic science education with extensive clinical experiences and research opportunities. I also liked having the option of pursuing a dual degree in pharmaceutical sciences. USC has one of the nation’s top doctor of pharmacy programs and I truly believe this school was the best fit for me.

One of the most remarkable experiences I’ve had at USC is my research with Dr. Ian Haworth in computational chemistry. It has been once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

What’s a fun fact about you that most people don’t know about?

I am a licensed security dispatcher and I also have power to arrest in California from the Bureau of Security and Investigation Services.