Moving to a strange new place can make anyone homesick. For a ten-year-old child, however, the pangs may seem even stronger.
Even after a decade, Lingyee Wong ‘10Pharm.D. still recalls how confusing it seemed when her family left Hong Kong for New York City. “At first, all I wanted was to go back, to be with my friends,” says Lingyee, known as Elsie to family and friends. “But my father insisted I’d have better academic and professional opportunities here.”
Elsie came to appreciate her parents’ emphasis on academic opportunity. Today, she is a 20-year-old senior in St. John’s University’s six-year Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program. Upon completing her senior year, she will move seamlessly into two years of graduate study.
“Fate kind of pushed me toward pharmacy,” she says. “A friend of mine, who was a year older than me, happened to make it into the program. She kept telling me how interesting it was, how challenging.”
Her family encouraged Elsie’s interest. “They said pharmacy was an excellent profession — a dynamic field with a good job outlook. I consider myself a dynamic person, so I began looking for the best pharmacy programs out there.” St. John’s seemed like a natural. “The program is very competitive,” says Elsie. “Everyone talked about its excellent reputation.” A campus visit convinced her to apply. “I thought it was beautiful — grass, trees, great residence halls — right here in the city.”
This past year, Elsie benefited from the access St. John’s offers to prime pharmacy internships. “I obtained an internship at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center through St. John’s,” she says. “There was a pharmacy career day on campus, and the recruiter I spoke with just happened to be Mt. Sinai’s assistant director of pharmacy!”
Pharmacy is demanding — “you’ve got to study every night” — but Elsie makes time for the University’s ample student activities. As a Student Ambassador, she gives campus tours to prospective students and their parents. Recently elected secretary of the Chinese Cultural Association, she also participates in the Asian-Pacific Heritage Month Planning Committee and the Asian Student Leader Round Table Discussions.
Elsie also has earned a singular honor — election to the President’s Society, comprising outstanding students who serve as University ambassadors at major events on and off campus.
“If you want a college that gives you plenty to do, this is the one,” Elsie says. “Students take their work seriously, but students appreciate all the activities. When you come to St. John’s, you can count on never being bored.”