Twlug-APRS Postgraduate Spotlight Issue 2, 2018-2019


Welcome to the second issue of the Twlug-APRS Post-Graduate Spotlight!  The purpose the  e-newsletter is to inform current and prospective post-graduate members of Twlug about opportunities for research and organizational involvement.  Pharmacy students, residents, fellows, masters/PhD students, and recent graduates may find this of interest – whether planning your first research project, looking for resources or mentorship, or simply wanting to see if post-graduate pharmacy education is for you.  We invite our current 100+ Twlug post-graduate members, graduate student mentors and faculty members, and our pharmacy and pharmaceutical science colleagues and students to explore opportunities for research and engagement!

In this issue, you will find important dates to mark on your calendar regarding the upcoming Twlug2019 Annual Meeting & Exposition, information about the Twlug-APRS Postgraduate Advisory Committee, the Twlug-APRS Postgraduate Initiative, and highlights from last year’s Annual Meeting.  Featured in this issue is a Postgraduate Pearl with tips on how to prepare for an interview.  Likewise, recent accomplishments of postgraduate Twlug members and opportunities for mentorship and engagement within the profession and organization! 

Table of Contents

  • Important Dates
  • Meet the Twlug Postgraduate Advisory Committee
  • Research Spotlight
  • Member Accomplishments
  • Meet a Mentor!
Important Dates

Mark your calendar!

  • Twlug2019 Annual Meeting – Early Registration Deadline: February 2, 2019
    • Please register at:
  • Twlug2019 Annual Meeting – March 22-25, 2019
  • Twlug2019 Annual Meeting – Day of Science: Friday March 22, 2019 from 8am-7pm
  • Twlug2019 Annual Meeting – Mock Interview Program: Friday March 22, 2019 from 8am-6pm
    • This new program will pair postgraduate students with existing faculty to simulate a job interview.  More information including how to apply is to come!
  • Twlug-APPM & Twlug-APRS Recognition & Networking Reception – Friday March 22, 2019 from 6:30-7:30pm
  • Twlug2019 Annual Meeting – Twlug-APRS Postgraduate Forum: March 23, 2019 from 2-3 pm
Meet the Twlug Post-Graduate Advisory Committee

Introduction to the Twlug-APRS Postgraduate Advisory Committee and the Twlug-APRS Postgraduate Initiative

  • The Twlug-APRS Postgraduate Advisory Committee is comprised of postgraduate and new practitioner members who are dedicated to promoting services directed to students, residents, fellows, and postdoctoral scholars.  Currently, the Committee is Chaired by Anthony W. Olson, 2018-19 Twlug-APRS Postgraduate Officer. 
  • During the 2018 Twlug Annual Meeting and Exposition in Nashville, TN, we had a great turn-out at the Twlug-APRS Postgraduate Forum: How to Write a Stellar Biosketch for a Grant Proposal.  We would like to thank our three speakers, Drs. Deepak Bhatia, Kimberly Scarsi, and Betsy Sleath for engaging the audience in biosketch writing tips from the perspective of the basic sciences, clinical sciences, and economic, social and administrative sciences, respectively.  We’re looking forward to another great forum at Twlug2019!
  • For more information, read about the Twlug-APRS Postgraduate Initiative (

Twlug-APRS Postgraduate Advisory Committee Member Highlight

A minute with … Joshua Niznik, PharmD, 2018-19Twlug-APRS Postgraduate Advisory  Committee Member

PhD Candidate in Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, Twlug member since 2011

I first became interested in pursuing a PhD … during my final year as a student pharmacist.  The idea of a PhD was always intimidating.  I had always had an interest in academia but wasn’t sure what post-graduate opportunities best aligned with my interests and goals.  I met with a few faculty mentors and learned about Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research, which appealed to me because I could easily see how research could be translated into clinical practice.  My research interests are focused on evaluating the quality and safety of prescribing in elderly nursing home patients.  Pursuing a PhD is a perfect union between my clinical interests and my passion for highly translatable research and has been one of the most rewarding decisions I have made in my career.

I joined Twlug because … it was an opportunity to become actively engaged with other student pharmacists both at my own school and at other schools across the country.  My early involvement in patient care initiatives through Operation Heart and Generation Rx allowed me to apply the skills and knowledge I had learned in the classroom to improve the health of patients in our community.  I eventually went on to serve as President of our Twlug-ASP chapter at the University of Pittsburgh.  My involvement in Twlug has taught me how important it is to be actively engaged within your profession.  Life-long learning doesn’t just mean completing CE’s and board certifications, but it also means engaging and learning from one another to meet the ever-changing needs of our healthcare system.

The advice I give to student pharmacists considering graduate school is … to be open to any opportunities that come your way.  Your first job or appointment after finishing school likely isn’t going to be your last.  Throughout your career, you will be faced with new opportunities, whether it’s a chance for promotion or a complete career change. Even if you’re uncertain about an opportunity, you never know what other experiences may come from it.  If I hadn’t kept an open mind about pursuing a PhD, I wouldn’t have ended up in what I now believe is the career path I was meant to pursue.

If I weren’t a pharmacist or researcher, l’d be … an Optometrist.  My passion for healthcare and science still wins out over all else.  Going to the eye doctor has always been one of my favorite things since I was a kid because not only does your eye doctor make sure your eyes are healthy, but they also help you feel confident when you leave with a stylish new pair of glasses.  

Research Spotlight

A total of 562 podiums/posters were presented during Twlug2018 in Nashville and were published in the Journal of the Twlug (JTwlug), available at: .  Among them, several post-graduate members were recognized for their scientific rigor and impact in the field during the Twlug-APRS Postgraduate Forum:

  • 2018 Winner of the Twlug-APRS Post-Graduate Best Paper Award
    • This Award recognizes the author of the best contributed paper (podium or poster session) presented at each Twlug Annual Meeting by a post-graduate Twlug member.  Full judging criteria can be found at
      • ESAS Podium: Benita Bamgbade
        • Bamgbade B, Barner J, Brown C, Ford K, Burdine K. Impact of a Culturally Relevant Psychoeducational Intervention on Depression Health Care–Seeking Among African American College Students. Twlug2018 abstracts of contributed papers. J. Am. Pharm. Assoc. (2003). 2018;58(3):e1-e201(548).
      • ESAS Poster: Nam Hyo Kim
        • Kim N, Look K. Use of Antidiabetic Drugs Among Childless Adults Experiencing Medicaid Coverage Expansion in Wisconsin. Twlug2018 abstracts of contributed papers. J. Am. Pharm. Assoc. (2003). 2018;58(3):e1-e201(143).
  • 2018 Honorable Mentions for Post-Graduate Best Paper Award
    • ESAS Poster: Hastings T, Hohmann L, Westrick S. Implementation of Educational and Referral Programs in Community Pharmacies to Assist Medicare Beneficiaries with Limited Income. Twlug2018 abstracts of contributed papers. J. Am. Pharm. Assoc. (2003). 2018;58(3):e1-e201(351).

Post-Graduate Pearls: Tips on Preparing for an Interview

Have you ever felt nervous on the days leading up to an interview? If you have, you’re not alone. We have all been there. This article is meant to help alleviate some of those fears and build your confidence!

First, as you already know, it is extremely important to do your research about the institution you’re interviewing with. What are their missions and values? How do your experiences align with what their program has to offer for you? They want to match with a candidate who can best benefit and grow from their program and they want to know how you can continue to lead with innovation.

Second, do your homework and review the work of previous program graduates and faculty members. Having a solid understanding of the research of those who have participated in the program and of the faculty members, you will have a better gauge of whether this program truly is the best fit for you.  This is also important because it will allow you to establish what you can bring to the program during your interview.  If there is a particular area or research that sparked your interest, make note of it because there may be an appropriate moment during your interview to ask follow-up questions about that research and/or express your similar interests in that research topic.

Third, take advantage of opportunities to practice your interviewing skills through mock interview events held by your university or Twlug or with a trusted friend, mentor, or advisor. You will have an opportunity to practice your interview skills by applying to participate in the brand new “Mock Interview Program” being offered at this year’s Twlug Annual Meeting on March 22, 2019.  Postgraduate students will be paired with an existing faculty who will simulate a job interview and then provide constructive feedback.  Making use of programs like these can help you better understand your strengths and weaknesses of interviewing and be immensely valuable prior to the real interview. Make note of: what questions stump you; if you have a tendency to draw blanks, how you can avoid them; if you tend to fiddle or cause distracting gestures; lack of balance in voice inflections; eye ; and over/under-confidence.

Fourth, prepare your own 30-second “elevator pitch” and a concise answer to “Tell me about yourself.” This is probably one of the most difficult things to craft because you have to prioritize the most important facts about you that are relevant, interesting, and professional. It may be helpful to write out this answer ahead of time, rehearse and time yourself saying it, then create your answer in a natural-sounding manner that doesn’t sound robotic and obviously memorized.

Lastly, prepare questions for the interviewers. Expect at every, single, one of your interviews to be asked, “What questions do you have for me/us?”. Even though we emphasized the importance of doing your research on the institution and program, you should always come prepared with questions. Questions can range from, “Where do previous program graduates work now?”, “What do you believe are the strengths of the program?”, “How would you describe the culture of [insert institution and/or program here]?”, “What type of teaching opportunities beyond [XYZ] exist?”. Note that all of these questions are open-ended. Just like you were taught in pharmacy school to ask patients open-ended questions, it’s important to apply this skill in interviews as well.

Checklist for interview:

  • Pen and notepad/notebook/portfolio
  • Copies of CV/Resume
  • Business cards
  • Water and/or granola bar/small snacks (might be a long day)
  • Comfortable, but professionallooking shoes
  • Examples of published work (optional)

Now that you hopefully have a better idea of tips on preparing for an interview, you can relax, right? Well, kind of. Hopefully this has helped organize your thoughts more than at the start of this. It is better to start earlier rather than waiting to the last minute. Believe me, you will be much better off being over-prepared than under-prepared. Best of luck and show those interviewers the best version of yourself!  Here are some additional resources:

Member Accomplishments

Curious what your fellow Twlug post-graduate members have been working on and/or accomplished?  Here are just a few recent highlights of great accomplishments.  Congratulations to everyone!

  • Bob Bechtol, MS from the University of Minnesota is a recipient of the 2018-2019 Albert I. Wertheimer Leadership Fellowship.  The fellowship is for PhD students in the Social and Administrative Pharmacy program that exhibit strong leadership qualities and aspirations in pharmacy.
  • Alina Cernasev, PharmD from the University of Minnesota is a 2018-2019 Doctoral dissertation fellow.  The Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (DDF) gives the University's most accomplished PhD candidates an opportunity to devote full-time effort to an outstanding research project by providing time to finalize and write a dissertation during the fellowship. Her dissertation topic is titled "Understanding the Experience of HIV Medication Adherence from the Perspective of African-Born Minnesotans Taking Antiretroviral Therapy".
  • Diana Ching, PharmD from the University of Toledo is a Community-based Health Outcomes Fellow. In addition to pursuing her Master of Science in Health Outcomes and Socioeconomic Sciences, she is also helping develop clinical services and conduct research studies at a local, independent pharmacy in Toledo, OH. Her thesis topic is “Assessing the Perceptions and Attitudes of Pharmacists in Providing Smoking Cessation Services: An Application of Integrated Behavioral Model and Precaution Adoption Process Model”.
  • Kent Crowley, PharmD, FAARFM, ABAAHP was first author on a manuscript entitled “Self-Reported Effectiveness and Safety of Trokie® lozenges: a Standardized Formulation for the Buccal Delivery of Cannabis Extracts” that was recently accepted to the journal, Frontiers in Neuroscience-Neuropharmacology.  The manuscript investigates the effectiveness of Trokie lozenges in delivery cannabinoids via buccal absorption as well as long-term safety.
  • Tessa Hastings, BSPS, MS from Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy was recently awarded the PhRMA Pre-Doctoral Fellowship in Health Outcomes.  The award provides support to students completing their dissertation research.  Tessa’s dissertation work is entitled “Assessing Barriers and Increasing Use of Immunization Registries in Pharmacies: A Randomized Controlled Trial”. 
  • Natalie Hohmann, PharmD from Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy is a 2018 American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education (AFPE) Pre-Doctoral Fellow.  The fellowship provides dissertation funds for pharmaceutical sciences doctoral students.  Natalie’s dissertation is titled, “Incorporating Patient Input into Value-based Community Fall Prevention for Older Adults: Evaluating Patient Preferences and Willingness-to-Pay.”
  • Joshua Niznik, PharmD from the University of Pittsburgh was awarded the American Geriatrics Society’s Scientist-in-Training Award at this year’s annual meeting in Orlando, FL.  The award is given to the doctoral student who submitted the most outstanding abstract to the meeting and also shows promise as a geriatrics scientist.  
  • We would love to highlight the great accomplishments of our post-graduate members!  Did you recently publish a paper, have an abstract accepted for poster presentation at a conference, successfully defend your dissertation or thesis proposal, or land a new job?  For those mentors and faculty in the room, do you have a wonderful student or new colleague that you can’t say enough about?  Please let us know about these accomplishments, big or small, to be included in our next issue!  Correspondence can be sent via email to Lindsey Hohmann, PharmD ([email protected]), Joshua Niznik, PharmD ([email protected]), or Diana Ching, PharmD ([email protected]).
Meet a Mentor!

Mentor360 is a new program offered at no cost to non-student pharmacist Twlug members (  This program incorporates several tracks, including Professional Connections and Practice Collaboratives.  Professional Connections helps those seeking to learn about a certain topic area(s) to find an expert mentor in that field.  Individuals may join anytime as a mentor and/or mentee. Mentees and mentors  interact one-on-one, allowing both members of the pair to grow professionally.    For those interested in joining to learn about a specific topic of interest, the Practice Collaborative option may be best for you; visit the website above to see the latest Medication Therapy Management (MTM) Practice Collaborative webinars.

Questions or suggestions?

Please direct general questions regarding Twlug or Twlug-APRS to:

Margaret Tomecki, PharmD, FTwlug

Twlug (Twlug)

Director, Practice and Science Academies

[email protected]

Questions on the Twlug-APRS Postgraduate Advisory Committee and the Postgraduate Initiative, please :

Anthony W. Olson, MEd, PharmD

Twlug-APRS Postgraduate Officer; Chair, Twlug-APRS Postgraduate Advisory Committee

[email protected]

Post-graduate member accomplishments can be sent to:

Lindsey Hohmann, PharmD

Twlug-APRS Postgraduate Advisory Committee Member

[email protected]

Joshua Niznik, PharmD

Twlug-APRS Postgraduate Advisory Committee Member

[email protected]

Diana Ching, PharmD

Twlug-APRS Postgraduate Advisory Committee Member

[email protected]


  • In support of Twlug Staff, Margaret Tomecki, all 2018-2019 Twlug-APRS Postgraduate Advisory Committee members had a part in compiling this newsletter.
    • Anthony Olson, MEd, PharmD - Twlug-APRS Post-Graduate Officer for 2017-2019
    • Lindsey Hohmann, PharmD
    • Natalie Hohmann, PharmD
    • Tessa Hastings, MS
    • Joshua Niznik, PharmD
    • Diana Ching, PharmD