Student Spotlight: Sai Upadhyayula

Meet fourth-year USC School of Pharmacy student Sai Upadhyayula (’17), who describes the value of the Trojan Family network, how his faculty mentor encouraged his interest in pursuing pharmacy law, and why he submitted only one pharmacy school application.


Sai Upadhyayula (PharmD, ’17)

Why did you choose USC School of Pharmacy?

USC School of Pharmacy was actually the only school I applied to. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to attend an institution with a reputation for innovation that emphasized clinical competency and collaborative practice. I also knew how valuable the Trojan Family network is. I felt confident and justified in positioning USC Mann as my top choice and decided that if I didn’t get in, I’d try again the following year.

How have the resources and faculty available at USC helped you with your studies, learning, and growth?

USC is one of the most supportive academic institutions I have ever encountered. In my first year, when I approached Dr. Fred Weissman with my interest in pharmacy law, I was put in touch with Jennifer Watson in the office of advancement. She championed my interest and introduced me to distinguished alumni who had been successful in that realm of practice. She also arranged an opportunity for me to speak about my background and career goals at a meeting of the school’s Board of Councilors. I received a scholarship to cover the cost of LSAT prep, and, with Dr. Weissman as my mentor, have been following my dream of attending law school post-graduation ever since.

Why should prospective students consider USC School of Pharmacy?

The students who attend USC are among the most engaged of any pharmacy institution. (I’ve heard this time and time again from students and faculty from other schools). We have an incredible number of entirely student-driven organizations that encompass every possible student interest, allowing students to explore the breadth and diversity of pharmacy practice. Students have the opportunity to hear from distinguished speakers, network with employers and thought leaders, gain valuable leadership experiences, and give back to the community through health fairs and clinic activities. With so many schools emerging – with pretty comparable curricula – USC offers students a dynamic and diversifying experience that will set them apart in an increasingly competitive job market.

What else would you like to add about USC School of Pharmacy?

USC School of Pharmacy values cultural, experiential, and intellectual diversity, while maintaining high standards for personal academic accomplishment. My undergraduate studies were in in the liberal arts – in music, actually. USC definitely considered my success in my science pre-requisite coursework when admitting me, but also showed a lot of appreciation for the unique perspectives I had gained through a humanities-based education. I think this consideration of diversity speaks to the School’s interest in developing truly well-rounded clinicians.