1. What is your name and profession(s)?
Kinjal Parikh, Clinical Pharmacy Specialist in Genitourinary Medical Oncology at University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
2. What is your background? Why did you choose your profession(s) and how did you get to where you are now?
I moved to America from India with my parents when I was 5 years old. I had originally wanted to be a teacher when I grew up but my mom wanted me to have a more financially secure career and so suggested healthcare. I looked up various careers, spoke with family members about their professions, and reflected on my own personality to decide that pharmacy would be the right fit for me. I applied to direct 6-year PharmD programs but decided to go to UNC for undergraduate training taking all of the pharmacy pre-requisites and applying to enter pharmacy school when I was a sophomore. I went through 3 years of pharmacy school and 1 year of rotations before graduating. After graduation, I went on to do a general pharmacy practice residency and then specialized a second year in oncology before getting the job I am currently in.
3. What are your hobbies and interests? Secret talents/skills?
In my spare time, I really just like to explore. I live in Houston and between shows, movies, restaurants, music, road trips to nearby big cities like Austin and Dallas, exploring murals and museums and other arts, I try to make sure I always have some fun in my life. I also take hip hop classes and bollywood classes! Otherwise, I’m always planning a vacation as well whether domestically or internationally. Work-life balance is really important. It’s an embarrassing talent but I can be super-organized when I need to be about the most useless of things.
4. Who is your favorite female superhero or someone you admire?
I really admire Priyanka Chopra. Growing up as an Indian woman, sometimes you feel pressure to fit this mold of what your life has to be like at various ages and that your life isn’t even about you but more about the person you end up with. I admire that Priyanka Chopra came to the limelight for Miss World but then wasn’t necessarily the best actress or anyone to know but through hard work and reflection came to represent that you can really be everything you need for yourself and you just have to believe in yourself. That confidence and sense of self is really admirable.
5. What advice would you give to young girls who would like to have careers in your field?
If you’d like to be a clinical pharmacist, I genuinely believe hard work is everything. There are always going to be people that are better networked than you or have maybe started on a path you’re interested in earlier than you that you can be intimidated by what lies ahead. However, I’m fortunate that merit, hard work, and sincerity paid off to get me where I am today.