Winter 2022

Coit Scholar Nancy Theodor Begins Pharmacy School with a Plan to Grow

New scholarship for a Wildcat

Nancy Theodor is convinced that pharmacy is her path, and the University of Arizona is the place to prepare for and launch her career. As for the rest, Theodor is leaving some options open. 

“I want to come into school with an open mind and see what best fits me and how I can grow as a student and a future pharmacist,” she says.

Theodor envisions researching new drug therapies and opening a pharmacy to help underserved populations in the United States. Ultimately, she dreams of returning to her native country of South Sudan.

“There’s a huge need for pharmacies in Sudan — there’s only a few in the whole country. That was one of the main reasons why I wanted to go into pharmacy.”

Theodor moved from Nebraska to begin her studies at the R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy, Phoenix campus, this semester. She was awarded a Coit scholarship, a program funded through a $50 million gift from R. Ken Coit ’67 that was announced at this year’s Homecoming celebration.

The Coit scholarship helped make it possible to attend her school of choice.

“I’ve always had to support myself, and money has always been a major issue. I’m extremely grateful to have a scholarship that helps me meet my goals,” she says.

Theodor has been interested in health care since childhood. She accompanied her father on visits to medical providers and pharmacies and took an active role in helping him communicate because he didn’t speak English. In her junior year of college, she zeroed in on pharmaceutical science.

“What made me certain was taking organic chemistry. That’s when I became extremely passionate and interested in the chemical processes of things, especially when it comes to medicine. I know pharmacists really focus on that,” she says.

An extensive research program is part of what drew Theodor to Arizona. She’s especially interested in cancer research, as her father and other family members have experienced the disease. 

When Theodor interviewed with faculty members as part of the admissions process, she was impressed with their passion for their careers. She also became convinced the R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy offers the resources to help her pursue her goals within the field.

“It was a hard decision, but I think I made the best decision, and I’ll have the best outcome with the University of Arizona,” she says.