Joined USJ: 2015
THE SCIENCE OF SUCCESS
Following an affinity for chemistry in high school, Michele Riccardi got hooked on science in college. Combining chemicals in her first laboratory class, she had her “aha” moment. “Being in the lab was a thrill,” she recalls. “Pursuing a career in pharmacy seemed like a win-win. I realized I could do something I truly enjoyed and, just as important, help people get well.”
In addition to pursuing her passion, Riccardi’s decision to obtain a college degree was instilled from an early age. Her parents, Italian immigrants who worked hard for her opportunities, encouraged her higher education. “The message was: ‘You go to college. That’s it,’” she says with a smile. After obtaining her bachelor of science in Pharmaceutical Sciences at St. John’s University (Jamaica, N.Y.), Riccardi completed a Pharm.D. at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, graduating with honors.
MAKING DREAMS COME TRUE
As a first-generation college student, Riccardi empathizes with challenges students might encounter who don’t have a family history of higher education. “I find it meaningful to help guide students who are overcoming obstacles,” she said. “I encourage them on their journey to keep going—to never give up.”
Beginning her career as a pharmacy intern and then, a pharmacist in a drug store in Somerville, N.J., Riccardi obtained a position as a staff pharmacist at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, Calif., before joining PharMerica in Berlin, Conn., as a pharmacist/consultant pharmacist. While employed in her next position as a clinical pharmacy coordinator at MidState Medical Center in Meridan, Conn., supervising and training students, she also began teaching at Quinnipiac University and University of Connecticut.
UNIQUELY POSITIONED FOR ACHIEVEMENT
In 2011, Riccardi joined University of Saint Joseph as a pharmacy preceptor, expanding her role as teacher by further enabling students with hands-on experience. Riccardi was attracted to a partnership with the University due to its dedication to compassionate care, as well as its unique modular curriculum, which focuses on one area of content at a time to enhance understanding and integration of information.
Introducing students to “real world” pharmacy practice is especially meaningful for Riccardi, who relishes connecting the classroom with community. In her appointment as assistant professor in the department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration in USJ’s School of Pharmacy, her dual role developing student skills inside the classroom and inside a hospital setting, enables their success. “Learning from books is just part of the equation. It’s advantageous to have the opportunity to prepare students in class in ways that facilitate achievement in an actual health care setting,” she said. “It’s wonderful to watch their development. They’re confident and well prepared — and it shows.”
Pharm.D., Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health
B.S., St. Johns University