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Pharmacy Students Balance Academics and Athletics

February 23, 2018

Bryan Rollins ’20 (Pharm.D.) has plenty of experience balancing athletics and academics. As a second-year student in the Wegmans School of Pharmacy, he draws on his time as a three-sport college athlete to tackle his commitments on the field and in the classroom.

Bryan Rollins plays soccer at Fisher.

And, Rollins is not alone. Four other pharmacy students currently compete in intercollegiate athletics, while many more, including Sarah Bisesi ’19 (Pharm.D.) have taken on the unique experience of being a student-athlete.

As an undergraduate, Rollins competed in soccer and indoor and outdoor track and field at the collegiate level, but once entering the pharmacy program, he decided to commit his time solely to the soccer team and his studies.

“Handling the workload of pharmacy school as well as participating in the athletic program here at Fisher has definitely been challenging, but at the same time, I strongly believe it has helped me to become a better student,” he said.

As traveling is a large part of being a college athlete, Rollins learned that balancing the demands of athletics and education is a crucial aspect of his success. The Groveland, New York native said that time management and social skills are two factors that have helped shape him into a strong student. Understanding that his athletic schedule is unlikely to change allowed him to dedicate other hours in the week to his studies.

“Once I know how much time I want to spend on schoolwork I can then plan a week or two in advance exactly when I will be able to visit the library so that I can feel comfortable and prepared for any exams, presentations, or assignments,” he explained.

Along with time management, Rollins appreciates the social skills that his athletic involvement has encouraged. Soccer introduced him to new people and opportunities, and has helped him appreciate the importance of cooperating with others, something that will translate well into his chosen profession.

“Being able to work well with others is a skill that I have learned through athletics and is something that aids me in school and will continue to help me throughout my career as a pharmacist,” he said.

Sarah Bisesi played field hockey at Fisher.

As a four-year member of Fisher’s field hockey team—including two as a pharmacy student—Bisesi also knows well the skills it takes to play and study at the collegiate level.

“With such an intense athletic and academic schedule, it really came down to planning ahead and making time for everything,” she said, noting that she relied on her planner to ensure she was using her time wisely during especially busy weeks.

Bisesi said she’s also grateful to be attending a college where both the faculty and coaches understand the tenacity, determination, and persistence that comes with the hectic schedules of a student-athlete. And, despite the juggling both her academic and athletic endeavors required, the life lessons she learned as a student and teammate made it all worth the while.

“I gained the ability to work together with others from all different areas and backgrounds and I learned how to gracefully win and lose,” she said.

Pharmacy students who have participated on a club or varsity sport while in pharmacy school include:

  • P1 students: Jack Behlmaier (track); Allison Menges (soccer); Samantha Schermerhorn (softball); and Molly Tice (lacrosse)
  • P2 students: Ciaran McHugh (hockey); Muhamed Miljkovic (soccer); Juliette Miller (track/cross country); Martin Peace (rugby); Bryan Rollins (track/soccer); and Michael Strumfler (men’s volleyball)
  • P3 students: Sarah Bisesi (field hockey); Alex Cain (rugby); Jessica Colmerauer (track); Ronni Ehlers (track); and Andrew Spencer (rugby)
  • P4 students: Alex Ferrara (hockey); Frank Lattuca (hockey); and Lindsey Shoales (lacrosse)

There are also three students who spend their time coaching athletic teams. Dana Cohan (P2) is a part of the women’s basketball coaching staff, Elizabeth Cusack (P2), is an assistant coach for the field hockey team, and Shanaya Bulmer (P1) is a part of the women’s volleyball coaching staff.