Drug Discovery Leads Undergrad to Accelerated Pharmacy School Admission

Shelby Colglazier | Undergraduate | Chemistry | Pre-Pharmacy

Shelby Colglazier did something pretty impressive: she gained admission into the Purdue School of Pharmacy, ranked by the U.S. News and World Report as a top 10 program. Most students wait to finish a bachelor’s degree before applying, but Shelby’s experiences at IUPUI helped her gain accelerated entry into the program during her junior year as an undergrad.

It was the emphasis on research and student involvement in the School of Science that first drew Colglazier to IUPUI as a chemistry major in the pre-pharmacy program.

“I didn’t want to be swallowed up by a large school; instead, I wanted to have the opportunity to hold a position of responsibility and to gain experience needed for life after college.”

Drug Discovery

Under the guidance of Drs. Marty O’Donnell, Bill Scott, Kathy Marrs and Greg Anderson, Colglazier participated in Distributed Drug Discovery (D3). The D3 project’s mission is to speed the development of drugs for neglected diseases. Through this project, students in organic chemistry and biology courses help create and test compounds for drug activity while learning about the multifaceted world of drug development and discovery. 

“Shelby, through her hard and creative work, played an essential role in both the development and implementation of the first coupled D3 chemistry/biology lab,” Dr. Scott said. “Our IUPUI students have now used this coupled lab to make, test and identify new, potent inhibitors of bacterial growth.”

As an interdisciplinary project, Colglazier learned many organic chemistry and microbiology laboratory techniques in addition to helping create and improve undergraduate science curriculum. During the summer of 2014, she attended the Bicentennial Conference on Chemical Education at Grand State Valley University and held a workshop, which helped spread D3’s mission and find ways to collaborate with other universities.

“Experience in this research has polished my laboratory techniques and given me tools to succeed as a leader. I am excited to be a part of major innovations in treatments and drugs.”

Campus Life

In addition to the D3 project, Colglazier also served as a teaching assistant in organic chemistry laboratories. Not all of Colglazier’s time was spent in the lab or at conferences though, she also was an active member of Alpha Sigma Alpha – Theta Zeta, an IUPUI sorority. Through this organization, Colglazier learned to grow in each of its four areas of success: social, physical, intellectual and spiritual.

“[With Alpha Sigma Alpha – Theta Zeta] I have found sisterhood and gained a better insight into all aspects of the college community.”

Colglazier was honored as a 2015 Top 100 student in and began her pharmacy education at Purdue in fall of 2015