Experience helps Pesavento, ’11, help students

Roby Hill
March 27, 2024
Alison Pesavento was a professional ballet dancer before becoming a pharmacist; now she's helping her alma mater as an adjunct faculty member.

Sometimes you need a little something extra. A bracer, a boost, a little stimulant. Something that picks you up and helps you keep going.

For many MUSC pharmacy students, that's exactly what Alison Pesavento provides.

The MUSC pharmacy alumna taps into her own academic and real-world experience to help students who are struggling with some part of the curriculum.

“She has injected a leading dose of enthusiasm and coordination to our daily academic rounding activities within the academic health system,” said Marc Lapointe, professor of clinical pharmacy and outcomes sciences and one of the faculty members involved in the college’s Objective Structure Learning Experiences (OSLEs).

Pesavento’s main roles at the college are in the community pharmacy labs for first-and third-year students and helping conduct OSLEs in the role of attending pharmacist. Students study patient cases and present their recommendations; if they struggle, they’ll return for a session with Pesavento.

“She’s very encouraging and nurturing,” said Kathy Hughes, curriculum coordinator. “Since she’s been in the community pharmacy setting, she gives another perspective to which the students can relate.”

Helping students through remediation during the OSLEs requires more than pharmacy knowledge. It’s a performance. Fortunately, Pesavento is no stranger to the stage, having once been a professional ballet dancer.

She danced with the Atlanta Ballet for three years and then, after auditioning in New York, got picked up by the Salt Lake City Ballet West. She danced for six more years before deciding to go back to school.

“When I was a student, I loved math and chemistry and of course you don’t use much of that in ballet, since it is focused more on the body and the way the body moves and works,” she said. “So pharmacy was actually a natural way to put the two together.”

Pesavento came to the MUSC College of Pharmacy from Salt Lake Community College, where she earned a chemistry degree with high honors, and was active on the Dean’s Council, the student chapter of the American Pharmacists Association, and as a member of academic honor society Rho Chi.

She’s had retail experience at CVS Pharmacy, Kmart and Publix Super Markets. Most recently, she worked in the Fetter Health Care Network as a pharmacist. Since 2022, she has also served as an adjunct instructor at the MUSC College of Pharmacy.