Emily Brekke won’t be done with her pharmacy training for another full year, but she already has a job offer upon graduation. Not only is she employed, Emily loves the work she does in a highly competitive government role. Emily works through the U.S. Public Health Service and provides many different health services as a pharmacist. Emily has been selected for a full-time commissioned officer position through the U.S. Public Health Service and will be moving to Arizona next year. Read more about her firsthand experience below.


My name is Emily Brekke, and I applied for the JRCOSTEP (Junior Commissioned Officer Student Training and Extern Program) during my second year of pharmacy school. I worked over the summer as a Commissioned Corps Officer of the United States Public Health Service under the Indian Health Service division. I was at the Albuquerque Indian Health Center which is one of the urban sites for IHS.

My team and I provided many different services to the native population. I wasn’t necessarily on a Native Reservation, but there were two field clinics that were on Native Reservations that I worked at. The pharmacy provided many services such as an anticoagulation clinic, a tobacco cessation clinic, a HepC clinic, and much more.

I enjoyed this summer so much that I decided to apply for the SRCOSTEP (Senior Commissioned Officer Student Training and Extern Program). This is the definition of the program from the website: “This highly competitive program is available to full-time students about to begin their final year of academic study or professional training. Those selected for the program will become Commissioned officers in the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) and receive full pay and benefits of an active duty officer for up to 12 months just for finishing their education and training. In return for financial assistance, SRCOSTEP participants agree to work for the USPHS sponsoring agency as a Commissioned Corps officer immediately after graduation. The service obligation is equal to twice the time sponsored. ”

I was accepted into this position for Indian Health Service, but I still have to pass security and medical checks before they can proceed with everything.

The Concordia University School of Pharmacy is so proud of Emily and all of her accomplishments. Preparing students to step into competitive positions like these is always top-of-mind for us. We do so by combining research, clinic, classroom, and other training experiences. For more information about studying pharmacy at CUW, visit cuw.edu/pharmacy or request information on the program! 

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