Going straight from high school to pharmacy school can be a bit jarring, but not for Dr. Courtney Caimano Tackes ’08. She says she was well-prepared thanks to her Holy Names education.

“Many students struggle academically when they first start this program, but I had already taken rigorous classes at AHN and developed great study skills that I was able to use from the start of pharmacy school. I was able to become involved in extracurriculars on campus much sooner because of this, which helped develop my interpersonal skills and become a well-rounded student.”

Dr. Tackes earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS) in 2014, before beginning her career as a pharmacist. After completing her master’s in business administration from Marist College in 2018, she returned to ACPHS where she is now Assistant Dean for Experiential Education and Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice.

This path wasn’t always a clear one for Dr. Tackes. She said it wasn’t until she took a career interests quiz in AHN’s College Counseling office that she caught the bug, so to speak. “I always loved math and science, and I knew some people who were in pharmacy program and really enjoying it, and we are lucky to have a fantastic pharmacy program right in Albany.”

Her advice to others who are interested in following her footsteps: talk to healthcare professionals you may know or interact with and ask them about their career path.  “Just from these conversations, you may learn of an area in healthcare that you may want to pursue.”

Dr. Tackes may not be donning the lab coat as often these days, but there is at least one fashion accessory you will always see her wearing: her AHN ring. “I love wearing my Holy Names ring because it keeps me connected to that time in my life and all the great things that came from my experience at Holy Names. It also is a symbol of connection, as I am often recognized as a Holy Names graduate when wearing the ring, both by current and former students. The ring is also so unique that it catches people’s attention and opens the opportunity for conversation and engagement.  I still wear my senior sweatshirt, too!”

Dr. Tackes says the memories that stand out most to her from her time at Holy Names are the times spent with classmates and friends, studying together in the library, creating songs for the song contests, painting the windows in the cafeteria, hanging out in homeroom, and working on group projects for literature class. “Even if we were not close friends outside of school, everyone came together within the walls of AHN.”

Just what the doctor ordered.