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USciences Taught Alumna How to Balance Career and Creative Passions
Although Kimberly Lizardo PharmD’12 is a pharmacist for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) helping with the generic drug approval process, it is her creative outlet that has brought her notoriety.
Lizardo, who runs Twinkle Bakery with her twin sister on nights and weekends, competed on an episode of “Bake it Like Buddy”, a show on Discovery Family aired and won the competitive challenge bringing home $1,000 and professional baking equipment. The show pits baking family pairs against one another in a face off at Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey. The winners are chosen by the “Cake Boss,” Buddy Valastro and his family and Carlo’s Bakery staff.
For Lizardo, she said her education at USciences not only prepared her for her career, it also prepared her to become a television baking show contestant.
“I learned to multi-task in college,” she said.
“The training I received from USciences was well-rounded,” said Lizardo. “I was able to take electives in anything I was interested in, from a compounding and cosmetics lab course, to pediatric medicine, to a course in research design and drug Information.”
As a result, Lizardo said she was well prepared for clinical rotations and found support in her preceptors who were great mentors for her and fellow students.
While completing USciences’ challenging pharmacy curriculum, Lizardo was also a pharmacy intern on the weekends and worked the front desk of the Athletic/Recreation Center during weekdays. When she did have a little downtime, she indulged in her creative side. Dancing and composing music were two ways she relieved stress. But the most important way was baking.
“I was baking cakes for my housemates and classmates in our tiny kitchen,” Lizardo said. “I learned that I could be really productive as long as I had a very organized schedule.”
Lizardo has been baking her entire life, alongside her twin sister, Veronica Santos, a graduate of Villanova University. The two work full-time jobs – Lizardo, as a pharmacist for the FDA in Washington, DC, and Santos, as an accountant in Philadelphia – but they maintain Twinkle Bakery, where they take online orders for special events and weddings. The twins spent nearly every day of childhood in the kitchen with their parents, helping to cook dinner, they wrote on their bakery’s website.
“We always loved to bake – but things really picked up while we were in college. Our friends were turning 21, cousins were getting married and having babies. We wanted to be able to give them something special for these celebrations, and that’s when we started making special occasion cakes,” said Lizardo.
Social media was vital to promoting their business and share photos of their creations. Facebook was how a television producer discovered them eight years ago, as potential contestants on The Next Great Baker, a spin-off of the Cake Boss. Although that opportunity fell through, they continued to pursue the dream and were cast on “Bake It Like Buddy” earlier this year.
“We’ve always wanted to have an opportunity to share our love of baking with the rest of the world,” Lizardo said. “It was a dream come true to be able to share this entire experience with my best friend.”
Lizardo said she plans to continue juggling her full-time job as a pharmacist while working with her sister to maintain their bakery.
“In 5 to 10 years I see myself doing exactly what I’m doing now, working my normal 9-5, and then spending my free time baking and doing the things that make me happy,” she said.
Lizardo’s advice to current pharmacy students: “Figure out what makes you ‘you’ – outside of the pharmacy world, and work on developing whatever those skills are. Make time for things that are important to you.”
Lizardo’s episode of Bake It Like Buddy aired Saturday, October 27, 2018. You can stream the episode “Birthday Cakes” on the DiscoveryFamilyGo app.
Categories: News, Alumni, Proven Everywhere, Student, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration, Pharmacy,