Annajita Rubio, a student at Eastern New Mexico University, wants to become a pharmacist. She is pursuing a bachelor's degree in biology with an emphasis in pre-medicine to fulfill the pre-requisites for pharmacy school.
"I hope to be a trusted healthcare provider that will truly make a positive difference in the health of my community," shared Annajita. "I hope my patients will feel comfortable enough to approach me with important questions about their medications to ensure proper usage and adherence."
The junior, who is from Roswell, New Mexico, chose to attend ENMU because it was close to her hometown and offered a "great program for my field of study."
The small class sizes were another feature that drew Annajita to Eastern since they allow for more opportunities to connect with professors and take part in undergraduate research in their labs.
Dr. Matthew Barlow, associate professor of biology, Dr. Manual, professor of biology, Varela, Dr. Cradock, professor of entomology, and Robin May, lead specialist for the STEM grant, have served as mentors to Annajita during her scholarly journey. "Professors at ENMU treat their students as individualized people, not just another number in their class and they truly want us to succeed," she explained.
Her research job through the ENMU HSI-STEM program allowed her to work in Dr. Barlow's lab for three semesters. She assisted him with research on cardiovascular deficiencies of metabolic syndrome women, neurological effects of baseline and concussed children and adults and the effects of amino acid supplements on delayed onset muscle soreness.
"Anatomy I/II" and "Physiology I/II" have been her favorite classes so far, since they set the foundation for her pre-pharmacy coursework. "It is so exciting to learn about how one's own body works," she added.
Her go-to study spot is the Science Building because it is "quiet and has unique light decoration fixtures on the walls that remind you how cool science really is!"
She advises students interested in her field of study to consider shadowing a professional. "I think shadowing is one of the greatest experiences because you can get to really put yourself in a professional's shoes and picture yourself doing what they do for the rest of your life," she said.
"Explore and shadow various career interests and see which career will excite you every day that you wake up for work. Don't just google 'what do pharmacists do?' Go and find out for yourself! That is the best way to know if you will really love it."
Annajita's accomplishments include being named to the Dean's List every semester and being recommended to represent the College of Fine Arts in the ENMU Student Peer Advice Discussion panel for Title V Cooperative Grant. She was also recommended for the STEM Panel for freshman outreach.
The STEM undergraduate mentor, who published an abstract in the "International Journal of Exercise Science," has attended and presented at various conferences, including the New Mexico IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence, the Texas American College of Sports Medicine Conference and the ENMU Student Research and Creativity Conference.
The Greyhound is actively involved with the Caduceus Health Society and is currently serving as the organization's president. She works as a sales associate and technician at the Walmart Pharmacy in Clovis and serves as a volunteer for Meals on Wheels in Portales.
The first-generation college student has two younger sisters, aged 11 and nine. Her mother is a housekeeper at a hospital, and her stepfather works in the oilfield.
In her free time, Annajita enjoys cooking, baking, watching movies and spending time with friends and family.