The Roads Less Traveled

Two Distinguished Alums Follow Different Paths to Success
The growing list of successful Nesbitt School of Pharmacy grads proves that the field of pharmacy is not only rich with opportunities, but many paths to get there as well. Priya Maheshwari Darouian ’03, and Anthony Fanucci ’18, are great examples: Darouian pursued a post-grad fellowship that led to a corporate career, while Fanucci paired his PharmD with a law degree.
Priya Maheshwari Darouian '03 headshot
Anthony Fanucci ’18 headshot
At first, Darouian didn’t have a plan for after graduation. “That actually helped me because I had an open mindset,” she said. In her last year, however, she did rotations at Novartis Pharmaceuticals in New Jersey, and something just clicked. She witnessed first-hand the impact pharmacists have in the pharmaceutical industry. “I went there for six weeks and I absolutely fell in love with what I saw,” Darouian remembers. After the six weeks, she wanted to learn more, so she applied to Rutgers for their postdoctoral pharmaceutical industry fellowship. “It was a sacrifice at that time because I had been working for so long and now I would be doing a post-doc. But it was worth it because I was investing in myself and, to me, it was more important to be fulfilled in my career,” said Darouian.

As part of the fellowship, Rutgers matched Darouian with Bristol Myers Squibb, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. “Being at Bristol Myers Squibb I was able to see that the opportunities for PharmDs in the industry was endless,” she said. “You’re at the forefront of science and bringing medicines to patients. To me, that was really rewarding.”

Today, Darouian is still with Bristol Myers Squibb and now serves as director of Worldwide Medical Capabilities, Medical Innovation. She also is co-lead for the BMS PharmD Fellowship & Residency program and APPE Lead, the same one that changed her life’s path years ago. “I’m passionate about giving back and developing talent, opening doors to students for a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry. Patients are counting on us,” she said.

While Darouian found her path in her final year of pharmacy school, Anthony Fanucci knew early in pharmacy school that he had an interest in merging his PharmD with another degree. At first, he considered environmental science, but it just didn’t click. Then he found out about law from Jerry Musheno, a graduate of Temple’s pharmacy and law programs who taught a law class at Wilkes. “He spoke about it with such optimism and he guided me in the right direction.” Hoping to find an opportunity that would provide legal experience while he completed pharmacy school, Fanucci also reached out to Ruth Hughes, associate dean, professor and chair of the Sidhu School of Business, who connected him with a unique work opportunity with a pharmacy licensing consultancy. “I ended up loving the work,” Fanucci said.

Knowing he was on the right path, Fanucci chose Penn State Dickinson Law. “I sought out a law school that was smaller because of Wilkes. At a smaller school you have a lot of opportunities and can develop confidence.” With the power of his PharmD from Wilkes and JD from Dickinson, he was hired last year as an associate in the Washington, D.C. office of law firm Alston & Bird, named one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” by Fortune magazine for 23 consecutive years. “Alston & Bird is a leading international law firm known for its great culture and excellent client service. I am in the Health Care Group—one of the largest health law practices in the country—and more specifically on the FDA team,” Fanucci explained. He acknowledges that the PharmD and JD together is what set him apart from other candidates. “Whether it’s understanding a drug mechanism, the relationship between a brand and generic, or the importance of building quality into a drug product, this foundational pharmacy knowledge is really what comes to the table at the law firm,” he said.

While Darouian and Fanucci followed vastly different career paths, they both agree that it was the PharmD distinction that opened the doors to their dream jobs. “Invest in yourself, and really seek those opportunities,” said Darouian. And Fanucci stresses the importance of living in the moment. “It’s about the process,” he said, “and what’s between A and B that makes you feel really good.”