Mirna Hanna, PharmD’18 (Flor), Pharmacy

A combination of a portrait and illustration of a woman.

(Illustration: Matthew Hancock)

“We moved to America from Egypt in 2001. I was 10 years old. My family made a lot of sacrifices to come here, including leaving our extended family behind.

I always knew that my parents wanted me, and expected me, to take full advantage of everything that this country has to offer — especially an education.

For undergrad, I attended Adelphi University on a full scholarship and worked multiple jobs throughout undergrad to support myself and my family.

When I applied to school, we didn’t know how the application process went or what to look for at different colleges. I didn’t know how to write a personal statement or get signed up for the SATs. It felt challenging — my family and I were on our own a lot of the time in terms of learning what to do. But, since I was first, I’ve been able to help my siblings. And I’ll probably visit colleges with my three daughters many years from now and will be equipped.

I studied biology because I liked medicine, but I didn’t want to be a physician and have all that pressure. I went into pharmacy because my husband told me, ‘I could see you making an impact.’ Previously, I’d associated pharmacists only with the people standing behind the counter at Walgreens or CVS.

Something I loved about FDU’s pharmacy program was the emphasis on nontraditional career paths and other opportunities. The curriculum felt designed around networking and building practical skills for the real world.

My parents cried at my FDU graduation. They saw their sacrifices and struggles pay off in that moment. They’re my biggest fans! Everywhere my dad goes, he’s so proud, he’ll say, ‘My daughter has a doctorate. She’s a pharmacist and works for a big company.’

During the first 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, I worked as a clinical pharmacy manager in a hospital. Now, I am the pharmacist-in-charge for Hikma Pharmaceuticals, the second-largest generic injectibles manufacturer in the United States. We prepare injectable medications — a lot of the medications and vials that go to hospitals around the country come from us. I’m currently licensed to practice pharmacy in 14 states, I have a master’s degree in public health, and my job is to make sure that the medications we provide are safe, effective and accessible for patients around the world. It’s a rewarding job because I get to be part of a great mission.

When I leave for work in the morning, I’m always thinking, ‘how can I make a positive impact today?’ I’m setting an example for my daughters. Going to college is investing in yourself, investing in your family, investing in your future.

A college degree gave me a life.”