Charles "Chuck" Berds
Pharm.D. Class of 2013
Where are you from, and what high school did you attend?
I’m originally from Lewiston, New York, which is right outside of Buffalo. I went to Lewiston Porter High School.
How did you hear about the School of Pharmacy at Northeastern, and why did you choose pharmacy?
I’ve always had an inclination for the health sciences. My step-father is a paramedic, a very service-oriented position, and my mother is in an administrative position in a hospital, so the health sciences always had a draw for me. I enjoyed math and science in high school, and I am interested in providing patient care.
Because I knew I wanted pharmacy, I looked at schools specifically for their programs. On visits to Northeastern, I fell in love with the program and the campus. I really could see myself here, starting an adventure in Boston.
Did the co-op program play a role in your decision to attend Northeastern?
Yes, a strong role. When it came time for a decision, co-op was something I couldn’t say “no” to. Although I could have gotten a part-time job at a pharmacy if I attended another school, Northeastern offers three different experiences before you enter your profession.
Where did you do your co-ops?
I began at J.E. Pierce Apothecary, an independent pharmacy in Brookline, and also at a Walgreens located in Roxbury. I really liked getting my feet wet in a real pharmacy practice. My job consisted of communicating with patients about drug therapy, processing and dispensing prescriptions, and working with the healthcare team to resolve any clinical issues.
For my second co-op, I worked on campus with a full-time faculty member, Dr. Nate Rickles. We began a study that assesses medications adherence in asthmatic patients. We tried to identify any barriers patients would have to taking their medication. I liked it very much. It opened my eyes to research and what it would be like to pursue a faculty position and research.
My third co-op was at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. During the first half, I delivered medications to the patient floors and prepared oral medications. During the second half, I was trained to make medications in the clean room and I shadowed a pharmacist who was on rounds.
How beneficial were the co-ops?
Absolutely beneficial. I drew connections and parallels between classroom and real world application. It helped me figure out what I am interested in the most.
What student groups and/or leadership roles are you involved in?
I am a member and am a past-president of the Resident Student Association, which runs programs and advocates for the residence halls. I am Co-Chair of the Senior Class Advisory Board, Training Coordinator for the Bouvé Fellows, Treasurer for the Rho Chi Pharmacy Honor Society, and a Student Alternate on the Curriculum Committee for the School of Pharmacy.
What are your plans after sixth-year rotations and graduation?
I plan on pursuing post-graduate training after rotations.
What is your community service involvement?
I’m part of the National Residence Hall Honorary, which is comprised of the top 1% of student leaders in the residence halls. The group focuses on community service and recognition. In January, the members went to the Boston Hope Lodge and served lunch to patients over there, which is just one thing we do during the year.
How do you plan to maintain a connection to Northeastern upon graduation?
I definitely plan to maintain connection to Northeastern, probably through the Alumni Association and through the connections I have made through the School of Pharmacy. Northeastern is such a big part of my life that I just can’t see myself not staying connected.
What would you say to a student who is considering Northeastern?
Go for it! The experiences that you gain at Northeastern through co-op, academics, and involvement is invaluable.
What class and/or professor has made the biggest impact on you so far?
The Exploring Academic Life class with Dr. Jenny Van Amburgh and Dr. Mike Gonyeau. It has opened my eyes to a whole different side of the profession about which I was previously unaware. It has allowed me to develop personally and professionally.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not studying for classes?
I like to travel. I’ve been hit by the travel bug, whether it’s for vacation or for a conference. I like to go to new places, meet new people, and try different things.
Where have you been?
Most recently I did a two-week vacation to California where I spent 5 days in San Francisco, 4 days in San Diego, and 4 days in Los Angeles. I had a fantastic time. Southern California’s weather can’t be beat, but I liked the atmosphere better in the north.
Which dorm did you live in freshman year?
White Hall, but throughout the years I’ve lived in Stetson East, Stetson West, Douglass Park, International Village, Willis Hall, West Village F, and 319 Huntington Ave.
What is your favorite hang-out spot on campus?
What is your favorite dining hall?
Stetson West for stir fry! For sure.
A Few Words of Advice:
“The only consistent thing about life is that it will always change.”