Dao Le, Director of Diagnostic Imaging/Radiopharmacy Operations

Hometown: Fort Smith, AR; lives in Houston, TX

Graduation year: 1998

Major: Biology (pre-medicine)

What other degrees have you earned? 

Doctor of pharmacy degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Please describe your current work.

As a nuclear pharmacist, our primary niche is to help physicians by providing radioactive drugs for diagnosis and therapy. In my role as Director of Nuclear Medicine/Cyclotron Research Facility Radiopharmacies is to share knowledge on the pharmaceutical aspects of patient care/clinical trials involving radiopharmaceuticals. This position serves as consultant to the Department of Nuclear Medicine, the Division of Diagnostic Imaging, the CABI, the IRB, Institutional Compliance and other departments on the design and implementation of various projects involving the use of radiopharmaceuticals. We will be responsible for providing radioisotopes to include the management, prioritization and resource allocation in order to maintain appropriate cGMP, GLP, quality control (QC) and quality assurances (QA) programs.

What are your future goals?

In the short term, my quest is to leverage such experience and expertise to influence investigators and pharmaceutical companies to want to support clinical trials (research), which in turn will allow faster FDA approvals for drugs that will ultimately save more lives.

Did your liberal arts education allow you to uncover particular passions that you’ve carried into your career?

As a graduate of Westminster, I have successfully imbibed the core values of Westminster both personally and professionally. The time at Westminster has taught me to be critically aware and to always strive to be a lifelong learner and a leader of character, committed to the values of integrity, fairness, respect and responsibility. Professionally, I attribute much of my success to being able to evaluate every situation from different perspectives: to think critically. This allows me to be better prepared for all potential outcomes. In the lab, as I work toward the development of a new drug, I design a process that includes a back-up method. This helps to increase the chances of a successful production so that the patient is never denied the dose that is scheduled.

Were any relationships you formed at Westminster particularly influential in helping you find clarity of purpose?

Dr. Williams (Biology), Dr. Young (First Year Seminar and mentor), Dr. Amspoker (microbiology), Dr. Schultz (organic chemistry). Nearly 20 years later, the memories still remain clear. They motivated me to succeed, and I saw their personal investment in wanting me to succeed.

What does being a “leader” mean to you?

A leader is a person who inspires all those around him/her to function at his/her best. Additionally, would “lead” by example. That was my view of most of my professors at Westminster. Today I still function under those beliefs.

What does success mean to you?

Being able to achieve things that you once thought were impossible — having accomplishments and still preserving happiness.

What is it about Westminster that makes it the kind of community that empowers students to discover their purpose and find success?

The experience at Westminster gave me the confidence that I needed to understand that through hard work, I can achieve the things that I deemed unachievable or difficult. The classes I took were really hard, and I worked really hard in them, but in the end I passed. Hard work paid off. When I entered pharmacy school, I had the confidence to assure myself that I wouldn’t fail. I have taken that mindset with me as I progressed in my career.

Do you recommend Westminster to prospective college students?

I have thought/imagined how my daughter would like Westminster, so the answer to that is YES. I like the close relationships at Westminster. I love that my professor called me because I didn’t show up to class and it was “uncharacteristic” of me to just not show up. Believe me, I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but looking back, I think that was pretty cool! Westminster wanted me to succeed.

Favorite Westminster faculty member(s)? 

Dr. Williams (biology) and Dr. William Young

Favorite spot on campus?

I don’t know if it was my favorite spot, but I liked to study in the old chemistry lab rooms. I would spend my whole day locked up over there. I liked the bacon and egg bagels from Hunter Activity Center.  I used to go over there and hang out because I was bored with studying.

Last book you read?

I spend a lot of time reading journal publications, so I haven’t read a novel for fun in a very long time. I like mysteries.

Favorite TV show?

I love dramas: Chicago P.D. is my current binge.

Favorite app?

WAZE (I am a bit directionally challenged).

Favorite way to spend a Sunday?

Cooking and watching movies with my family.


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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is a Media and Content Strategist at Westminster College in Fulton, MO. A 1992 graduate of the College, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communication in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.