Memorial High class of 2015 alumnus Alex Peterson-Weber is actively participating in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. A current student at the UW-Madison School of Pharmacy, Alex and his colleagues have been enlisted by the Wisconsin COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force to help provide immunizations in the surrounding community at pharmacies requesting assistance.
Commenting on his participation in the vaccine effort, Alex says:
"For almost all my life now it’s just felt like whenever there’s this big crisis on a national or state scale, I’ve just been on the sidelines and haven’t been able to really do anything to participate in it, but I feel really fortunate now that I’ve made it far enough in my schooling and career that I can actively participate in fighting this pandemic. The fact that I can actively work to help save the lives of friends and neighbors that I’ve grown up with and lived with for years now is just incredibly fulfilling and rewarding and I would encourage anyone else with even the slightest opportunity to participate to go forward and do so."
Alex's family moved to Madison from Boulder, Colorado when he was 6 years old. He attended elementary school at Glenn Stephens and then went onto Spring Harbor for middle school. There he was exposed "to a fantastic and engaging science program that helped spark [his] interest in science." During his years as a Spartan at James Madison Memorial High School he was a member of the swim team for all 4 years, and also tried lacrosse and ultimate frisbee each for a season.
"As I began applying to colleges, I started to think about what kind of career I wanted to pursue," Alex comments. "I really enjoyed the art electives Memorial provided (photography and ceramics being my favorites) which drove me to initially pursue a career in architecture. However, during my junior year of high school I took an excellent course in anatomy and physiology that solidified my interest in science and more specifically health sciences. From there I started to tour colleges with well-regarded health programs with hopes of becoming a nurse, physician, or surgeon someday. During this exploration I found that none of these professions really suited me very well until I came across pharmacy. I discovered that pharmacists have a tremendous capacity to help patients on a daily basis and their vast expertise in all things drugs really appealed to me. Likewise, the PharmD degree offers a lot of flexibility in how I can apply myself as a pharmacist.
"Luckily, the UW-Madison has a top 10 pharmacy program right in our backyard which drew me in even further. I feel fortunate to have identified a great career path for myself so early on which led me to choose UW-Madison for undergrad and ultimately their school of pharmacy for my eventual PharmD."
While the pandemic has presented some challenges for Alex as a college student, he recognizes that the flip side of remote learning is that it has prepared him and his classmates quite well to partake in telehealth and telemedicine, "which is going to be a huge part of medicine from now on." Alex has his sights set on a 2022 graduation from the UW-Madison and we wish him all the best on his current and future endeavors!