Alumni Profile: Making it through – Dr. Teri Lopez

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Dr. Teri Lopez on her graduation day at Washington State University

Editor’s Note – The following statement was written by Mr. Glenn Lee and gives more insight on Teri’s journey:

“Teri was our Team Captain back in 2003 when our program won its first ever Regional Chairman’s Award.  Her dad was one of our main engineers for our first five years and her brother was also on our drive team. We still proudly hang that banner in our shop. Congratulations on being a shining example of an individual who has fought through challenges in life to pursuing your dreams. You have a beautiful family and a great career ahead of you. We are glad that Waialua Robotics Team 359 brought an opportunity for you and your family to be a part of.”😊

Year Graduated from Waialua: Class of 2003!!

Dr. Teri Lopez with her husband Trystyn, daughter Ryen, bff Estelani Bagasol and her family

Extra-Curricular Activities:  I was captain for the Robotics Team, I was involved with student body government, volunteered at Wahiawa General Hospital, and was a member of the National Honor Society.

Family: I am getting married (finally) in June to Trystyn Schleicher and we have a beautiful 13 year-old daughter Ryen:)

Occupation/Employment: I am now a pharmacist! I will be doing a residency at the VA Puget Sound in Seattle.

Colleges Attended: I graduated from UH Manoa in 2010 with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. I just graduated from Washington State University College of Pharmacy 2017 with a Doctorate of Pharmacy degree.

Waialua and the North Shore will always be home…

What do you miss most about Waialua?: I miss the camaraderie. Waialua is a small school so you know everyone including your teachers. I miss the Robotics Team:) Some of my greatest memories from high school is from the countless hours I spent with the Robotics. I also miss the supportive environment where the faculty and staff all care about the well-being of each and every student.

Dr. Teri Lopez with her daughter Ryen and mother Cathy.

What lessons did you take from Waialua that helped you in your life/career? Since Waialua is such a small community, you grow up learning how to have respect and compassion for one another and I really think that mindset transcends to everyone I come into contact with. It not only helps me build and keep meaningful friendships, but it also helps me interact with my patients and other health care professionals. Also, coming from a small town, I feel as though I learned how to be persistent and to never lose sight of my dreams. That definitely helped me persevere through all of my hardships and obstacles to achieve my dream of becoming a pharmacist.

Is there a teacher who helped you out in school? What did they do for you? There are many teachers who helped me in school, all of whom I am forever grateful for. Mr. Greg Kamisato, Mrs. Lynette Okita, Mr. Glenn Lee, Ms. Amy Hangman were definitely my favorite teachers in high school. Their passion and dedication for teaching was/is truly inspiring and it made me want to find a career in which I could express the same passion and dedication. What they taught me has helped shape me into the person I am today. So thank you for that!!:)

Have to take a pic with the WSU Cougar on graduation day!

Why did you decide to become a pharmacist? I had my daughter right after I graduated from high school and I honestly did not know what I wanted to do with my life. My mom was a pharmacy technician at Wahiawa General Hospital and luckily one of the pharmacists she worked with offered to show me what being a pharmacist was all about. I fell in love with the profession and decided to go back to school. I knew I had to gain more experience in a pharmacy so I got a job as a pharmacy technician at Longs. So I was going to school, working part-time, and being a mom. Finally, in 2010, I graduated with my bachelors in biology. I couldn’t afford to go to pharmacy school right away so I worked as a pharmacy technician. In 2013, I applied to pharmacy school at Washington State University College of Pharmacy, got in, packed my family up, moved to Washington State and never looked back. That was the best decision I ever made. Four years later, I graduated with my doctorate of pharmacy degree and will be doing a pharmacy residency at the VA Puget Sound in Seattle. The patients I come into contact with are the reason why I am so passionate about what I do.

Besties Teri, and WHS graduates Glenelle Stultz, and Estelani Bagasol at Glenelle’s baby shower.

What are some of the things you overcame to get where you are today? Being a young mom is not easy. While all of your friends are worrying about college/dating/having a good time, you are at home studying, working, and trying to be the best parent you can be. Financially things were difficult. Finding someone to babysit my daughter while at school/work was also something I had to worry about. If I didn’t have my parents, I don’t know where I would be today. They helped Trystyn and I tremendously financially and emotionally. Working, going to school, and being a mom is a hectic life, but as I look back I wouldn’t trade any of it. I am who I am today because of all of my struggles and hardships. Going back to school after a break in time is also difficult because you have to get back into your groove and adjust to a whole new schedule. Trystyn, Ryen, my mom, and my dad have made so many sacrifices so that I could follow through with my dreams….if it weren’t for their help, I would not have accomplished what I did.

Family time at Airfield Winery in Prosser, Washington.

What advice would you give to the kids going to Waialua now? DON’T GIVE UP! Through hard work and determination you are capable of achieving your dreams. There were many people who doubted me, but I proved them wrong. Achieving my dreams was not only important for myself, but it was important for me to show my daughter that hard work pays off. Every hardship and every obstacle is a learning opportunity, so reflect upon them, pick yourself back up, and keep moving. Listen to your teachers and your parents because believe it or not, they know what they are talking about. Learn and grow from their wisdom and have love and compassion not only for yourself, but for everyone you come into contact with.

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