Peer Mentors

Our Dean’s Student Ambassador Peer Mentors are happy to speak with you about their experience with the application process and what it is like to be a professional/graduate student at UB SPPS. During the fall and spring semesters, they are available in in 270 Kapoor Hall.  

DSA Peer Mentor Availability - Spring 2018

Pharmaceutical Sciences Students

Mondays: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.; 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Pharmacy Students

Mondays: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.; 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Tuesdays: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.; 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Wednesdays: 11:00 a.m. –12:00 p.m.
Thursdays: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Fridays: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.; 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Questions to ask Peer Mentors

Not sure what to ask?  Here are some suggestions for questions:
- How did you get to where you are today?
- What undergraduate classes have you found interesting or useful?
- How is the PCAT? How did you study?
- What do you do in pharmacy school?
- What do you like most about the program and what do you find most challenging?
- What skills do you think are most important for this program and the profession?
- Tell me about your daily schedule.
- How does the course work compare to the undergraduate coursework?
- What special programs are offered by the school (research, collaborative degrees, etc.)?
- Do you belong to any professional organizations?
- What kinds of opportunities for employment are there in the field?
- Can you recommend other people who might be valuable sources of information?
- Are you able to work during the school year?  How many hours per week do you typically work?
- What activities do you do during your spare time?
- Do you miss home?  How often do you go home throughout the school year?
- How is the camaraderie within the school - does everyone get along and help each other?
- What advice can you give to the students who want to be a part of the PharmD program?

DSA Peer Mentor Bios - Pharmaceutical Sciences

Emily Bonacquisti

Emily Bonacquisti, PhD Student, Buffalo, NY
Mondays, 9:00 a.m - 10:00 a.m.
Emily is a Buffalo native and is currently a first semester PhD student in pharmaceutical sciences. She graduated with high honors from the biological sciences department here at UB in the fall of 2017. She will begin her PhD research with the mentorship of Dr. Julian Nguyen, and she hopes to enter the pharmaceutical industry after graduation. Emily is happy to answer questions especially from students with backgrounds that aren’t strictly pharmacy or pharmaceutical sciences, or students that need help adapting their study methods to a new academic environment.


Antari Khot, PhD Student, NewDelhi, India
Mondays, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Antari is from New Delhi, India and received her B.Pharm degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Varanasi. She joined this department in 2011 for the MS program, eventually transferring to PhD program in 2013. Her research is focused on understanding the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of novel anti-cancer biologics. When not in lab, she is usually watching movies and series or trying out new restaurants. She will be happy to answer any questions regarding her experience in UB/Buffalo or can suggest good restaurants for brunch!


David Bussing, PhD Student, Simi Valley, CA
Mondays, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
David is in his third year of the PhD program at UB. Originally from Southern California, he graduated with honors from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a BS in Pharmacology. Before attending UB, he worked for several years at Allergan, Inc. in Irvine, CA in the pharmacokinetics and translational sciences department. At UB, his research focuses on ocular disease, the pharmacokinetics of biologics in the eye, and the development of antibody drug conjugates. David is happy to answer questions from new graduate students, especially those from out of state.

DSA Peer Mentor Bios - Pharmacy


Emily Thurnherr, PharmD Student, Holland, NY
Mondays, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Emily is a second year student in the PharmD program, and applied to the program through PharmCAS.  She is originally from Holland, a hamlet south of Buffalo, and has come back to Buffalo after completing a Bachelors degree in biochemistry from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2016.  She is a member of the American Pharmacist’s Association (APhA) and the Industry Pharmacist’s Organization (IPhO), along with being a Dean’s Student Ambassador.  Emily is a pharmacy intern at Larwood Pharmacy, an independent community pharmacy in East Aurora, NY. Outside of school, she is an active volunteer with the Erie County 4H organization, helping youth learn how to knit and bake. After completing an internship at Merck, Emily cemented her decision to pursue a PharmD degree instead of a PhD but still hopes to work on clinical trials in the pharmaceutical industry.   She is excited to meet perspective students and answer any questions they have!

Ariel Walker

Ariel Walker, Kenilworth, NJ
Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Ariel is currently completing her second professional year in the PharmD program. She completed her Bachelor's of Biology and Chemistry at a small private college in VA called Shenandoah University. She decided to take her PCATs and to apply to pharmacy school after 1 year of working at CVS pharmacy. Ariel is a member of student national pharmaceutical association (SNPhA) and a member of the executive board with Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP). In her free time, Ariel likes to go hiking, finding new trails for a good run around WNY and loves trying out new places to eat. If you have any questions, she is happy to help with any questions you may have!


Renae Gozelski, PharmD Student, Castile, NY
Mondays,  1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Renae is currently in her second year of pharmacy school at UB! She grew up in a small town near Letchworth State Park and came to Buffalo to complete the  Early Assurance Pharmacy Program. She currently works at Rite Aid as an intern. In school she enjoys participating in the Generation Rx program, a subdivision of the American Pharmacist's Association (APhA). Outside of school, Renae loves riding horses and being outdoors! Feel free to contact her with any questions regarding UB's pharmacy program.


Brenna Gelen, PharmD, Allegany, NY
Tuesdays, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Brenna is in her first professional year in the PharmD program. She was admitted into the program after completing her undergraduate studies through the 2-Year Early Assurance program at UB. While at school, she works in the microbiome and genome office as a student assistant that reaches out to the community. Brenna is a member of Operation Immunization, which is a subdivision of the American Pharmacist’s Association (APhA). In her spare time, she likes to go to the gym and go on adventures throughout Western NY (canalside, hiking, finding new places to eat). Brenna would be happy to answer any questions you have!


Stephanie Carter, PharmD, Honeoye Falls, NY
Tuesdays, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Stephanie is currently in her P3 year of the PharmD program at UB. Before entering pharmacy school via PharmCAS, she completed her Bachelor’s of Biomedical Sciences degree at UB in 3 years. Stephanie is originally from Honeoye Falls, NY, which is a small suburb just south of Rochester. She is a Dean’s Student Ambassador. Addtionally, she is a part of many pharmacy organizations including APhA, CPNP, SPAWNY, and NCPA. Stephanie currently works pharmacy intern at Rite Aid Pharmacy and has previously worked at Middleport Family Health Center. In her free time, she loves to hang out with her cats, Shadow and Luna. With a unique perspective on the application process and many undergraduate classes, she looks forward to meeting prospective students and invites any questions they may have!


Jessica Mason, PharmD Student, Syracuse, NY
Tuesdays, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Jessica is moving into her second professional year in the PharmD program. She was accepted into the program after completing the 3-Year Early Assurance Program at UB for her undergraduate prerequisites. When home for winter and summer breaks, she works as a pharmacy intern at Kinney Drugs, a retail pharmacy in Syracuse. During the semesters she works as an intermittent pharmacy intern in the inpatient pharmacy at the Buffalo VA Medical Center. Jessica is involved in the American Pharmacist’s Association (APhA) and the Student Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists (SSHP), and she is the secretary for the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) student chapter. In her spare time she sings in a co-ed a cappella group on campus and enjoys hanging out with friends. Jessica would love to answer any questions you might have about the Early Assurance or PharmD program!


Pauleena Pal, PharmD/MBA, Ewing, NJ
Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m - 12:00 p.m. 
Pauleena is moving into her second professional year in the PharmD program. She completed her Bachelor's of Biopsychology at a small public college down in NJ called The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). She decided to take her PCATs and apply to pharmacy school after her Junior year in undergrad. She competed in a Business Plan Competition in her senior year and was fortunate enough to win first place! After graduating TCNJ she decided to pursue her PharmD/MBA at UB. She currently works at Univera Healthcare as a pharmacy intern. Pauleena wants to utilize both degrees to improve the quality and access of healthcare in our country. Outside of school, she loves to go on fun adventures and explore WNY- whether that be hiking on the weekends or playing trivia at Canalside. The people at Buffalo made the transition to this new city seamless and she is excited to see what the future holds. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact her! 


Miranda Graham, PharmD Student, LeRoy, NY
Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Miranda has attended UB for her entire college career. She completed her prerequisite courses over three years and entered the PharmD program after taking her PCAT. During her time at UB, Miranda has worked at Putnam’s dining center on North Campus, worked as a Teaching Assistant for Evolutionary Biology (BIO200), was an RA dedicated to pre-pharmacy first year students, and currently works as a pharmacy intern at Parkview Health Services. She loves to volunteer her time to the community through the Alzheimer’s Association, eat at new restaurants in Buffalo, and have ice cream at Parkside Candy. She’s been a resource on campus to students interested in pharmacy before, and would love to help with any questions you may have!


Devon Coffey,  PharmD Student,  Albany NY
Fridays, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Devon is entering her second professional year in the PharmD program. Her undergraduate prerequisites were completed at UB through the two year early assurance program.  She currently works for NYS Medicaid in a pharmacy formulary and operations unit.  After graduation, Devon plans on completing a PGY1 and PGY2 residency and working as an oncology pharmacist.  Devon is a member of American Pharmacist’s Association (APhA) and Student Society of Health System’s Pharmacists (SSHP).  In her free time, she enjoys running, a good show on Netflix and spending time with friends and family.  Devon would be happy to answer any questions you may have!       


Ellen Kang, PharmD Student, Whitestone, NY
Fridays, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Ellen Kang is in her third year of the PharmD program at UB, applied via PharmCAS. She is from Whitestone, NY and graduated from SUNY Stony Brook with a Bachelor’s degree in general biology and there she attained valuable research techniques and TA experiences. She would like to keep herself busy with various extracurricular activities. Currently, she works at Walgreens outside of school. Also, she is a P3 co-chair for American Pharmacist Association-Patient Care Project Operation Immunization and a Dean’s Student Ambassador for UB SPPS. She would like to actively help students who look for advice and answer any questions.