2023 Grad Stories: Jesus De La Torre

May 12, 2023

From First Generation College Student to Class President

As a child born to parents who immigrated to the United States from Mexico as teenagers, Jesus De La Torre, PharmD, grew up recognizing the sacrifices that his parents made for their children. He grew up in a large family, so could not have imagined he would be the first in his family to receive a college degree. Now a CHSU College of Pharmacy Class of 2023 graduate, Dr. De La Torre has a strong desire to stay in the region to serve his community.

“I chose the pharmacy profession to help the community I was raised in. I consider the Central Valley my home, it’s important for me to help my community and to be a role model for my younger siblings and other younger family members who have an interest in the medical field,” said Dr. De La Torre.

As a child, he worked with his dad in the fields over the weekends, and he enjoyed that experience because it meant he got to spend more time with his dad and learn from him. He is also very close to his mother, another important figure in his life.

“Those weekends with my dad were one of the catalysts for the work ethic that I have exhibited in my education,” said Dr. De La Torre, “And my mother has always believed I could become a pharmacist, and she’s been the backbone for the successes of me and my siblings.”

Dr. De La Torre started his career pursuits as early as high school at Central High School West Campus.  It was his AP chemistry teacher who first recognized his potential and encouraged Dr. De La Torre to consider a career in the science or healthcare fields.

“I became aware of CHSU because of my AP chemistry teacher. He asked what my plans were, and he saw that I possessed a great scientific mind. He asked if I had considered pharmacy or medical school because he was aware of the pharmacy school opening at that time in Clovis,” said Dr. De La Torre. “I looked into it, and I liked it because I could stay local, and I’d be able to pursue a career path I was interested in.”

Jesus De La Torre

After graduating high school, Dr. De La Torre attended Fresno City and Fresno State, receiving his bachelor’s degree in Biology, which gave him the prerequisite courses he needed for pharmacy school.

His academic success during his undergraduate education earned him a prestigious high honors scholarship from the CHSU Scholarship fund. With a very limited number of scholarships awarded to top academic students, he received a $10,000 scholarship each of his four years of pharmacy school by maintaining a high grade point average (GPA).

With a strong desire to excel academically, Dr. De La Torre maintained a 4.0 grade point average and was recognized on the CHSU President’s List throughout pharmacy school.

“My grades are a reflection of my hard work. This is not just my achievement, this belongs to my family, my friends. It’s important for me to tell people that at the end of the day, I wouldn’t have gotten this far without my family’s support,” said Dr. De La Torre.

To ensure his career success, Dr. De La Torre was also active in student professional organizations, community service, and student government during pharmacy school. In his first year of pharmacy school, he served as a Student Ambassador for CHSU.

By his second year of pharmacy school, he finally put a long-time interest into action pursuing leadership roles. He was elected his Class of 2023 president and maintained that role for three consecutive years. He also served two years as Treasurer for both the CHSU chapters of the American Pharmacist Association/California Pharmacist Association (APhA/CPhA) and the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA).

All the while, Dr. De La Torre worked two jobs during pharmacy school to help advance his career and provide financial support. He has worked at Kohl’s for the last four years, and Rite Aid as a pharmacy intern for two and a half years.

His work at Rite Aid, connecting to the community and utilizing his first language of Spanish, helped him decide his pharmacy career path.

“I’m from Fresno, so I saw that a lot of the low-income Hispanic community didn’t feel comfortable when they visit a pharmacist or a doctor because of a language barrier. So, I wanted to become a pharmacist in the Central Valley so I can interact with the my own community that may only speak Spanish,” said Dr. De La Torre. “I know that from my experience as an intern at Rite Aid it makes it easier to connect with when I start to speak Spanish.”

He is very proud to work for Rite Aid and will continue working with them as a graduate intern until he passes his board licensing exams after graduation. He received three offer letters from Rite Aid to retain his employment, detailing his progression with the company.

As a registered pharmacist at Rite Aid, he will have the opportunity to receive federal loan repayment awards if he continues working for them for three years. But more important to Dr. De La Torre, he has already spoken to Rite Aid about the opportunity for positions in leadership and management, and ultimately, he could become a Regional District Manager.

Although Dr. De La Torre has worked diligently in pursuit of his education and career, he remains very family oriented. The second oldest of four sons, Dr. De La Torre highly values being a mentor and role model for his family. He has a younger brother who is currently attending Fresno State with aspirations to become a physician.

Dr. Jesus De La Torre will be graduating Summa Cum Laude this Saturday, May 13, 2023 with his Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) from CHSU. He was one of two graduates to receive the prestigious Granville Homes Outstanding Graduate award.

The 2023 Grad Stories is a series dedicated to honoring our California Health Sciences University (CHSU) Doctor of Pharmacy graduates and showcasing their accomplishments throughout their time at CHSU while earning their PharmD degree.

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