Earning a PharmD from her home in Window Rock, Arizona, Diedre Greyeyes is one busy lady. The full-time remote student at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is also a full-time distance student at Colorado State University (CSU) earning an MBA. And because of the magic of technology, Greyeyes is able to do both from her home – a necessity when the closest Target is over two hours away.
"The doors are really open to wherever I want to go, and I’m excited to learn all that I can do with my PharmD.”
Window Rock is a census designated place that serves as the capital of the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation itself spans more than 17 million acres, covering three U.S. states; Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. Greyeyes grew up within the expansive boundary and is a proud member of the Navajo Nation. For the Navajo people, introducing yourself is about more than just telling someone your name, it's about sharing where you come from – your clan lineage. For Greyeyes, her clan lineage is Shí eí Deidre Greyeyes yinishyé (My name is Deidre Greyeyes), Tódích'íí'nii nishłi (I am Bitter Water Clan), Tódích'íí'nii bashishciin (Born for the Bitter Water Clan), Tó'áhani dashicheii (My maternal grandfather is near the water clan), Áshiihi dashinalí (My paternal grandfather is the Salt clan). As she explains her clan lineage, she also explains that her mother, a PhD, is a major influence on her decision to pursue higher education.
“I have a bachelor’s in kinesiology from Arizona State University, and then I went to D.C. and worked in the Office of Community Health [for Native Health Services], and then I got a master’s in public health, and returned to Window Rock,” she said.
She had already started her online MBA from CSU when the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. Her job at the time was working in public health on the Navajo Nation, and she found herself recording data on the virus by hand and struggling with her peers to find the best approach.
“Because the (Navajo Nation) boundary spans three states, we were having to record each state individually and report that to each state, and then also aggregate for the Navajo Nation itself, which can be siloed, so we had accurate reports of the virus. It was very difficult,” she explained. “I realized that many of the people I was working with were pharmacists, and they were smart and dedicated and creative, and we were working together to solve these systems problems to better serve the Nation.”
She decided to add a remote PharmD to her already busy schedule. She has the remainder of this academic year to juggle both programs, and she graduates in Spring 2022 with her MBA, which is focused on data analytics.
“I don’t know yet what I want to do with my degrees,” she said. “I have so many options and I’m learning so much in my PharmD program. The doors are really open to wherever I want to go, and I’m excited to learn all that I can do with my PharmD.”
Update: In 2022, we were able to check-in with Diedre and see how life as a remote PharmD student was going. As a member of the first remote PharmD cohort at CU Pharmacy, her input is invaluable to further develop the program.
"The remote class has provided feedback to the administration, who really took it into consideration, and implemented most of it," she said. "There are other things that have yet to be implemented but... are in the works. The School of Pharmacy must have really liked our remote class because they added another round of P1 remote students, the class of 2026!"
Greyeyes also explained that the in-person students have embraced the remote students in class, blurring the lines and making the experience interactive. The classes are now a bit harder, but also more focused on the pharmacy scope of work.