Meet alumna Chelsey Yearwood

Chelsey Yearwood
Chelsey Yearwood

As a Connecticut native, Chelsey Yearwood grew up loving UConn and wanted to focus on science, nutrition and wellness. A degree in allied health sciences fit her interests perfectly. Since graduating, she has worked in the pharmaceutical industry, first at Eli Lilly, then Capsule Pharmacy and Vireo Health before accepting her current position at Toast Wellness. She found herself fascinated with the health care ecosystem, the process of launching a new medication and discovering how to assist health care workers provide for their patients. Currently involved in the cannabis industry, she hopes to be an advocate for the emerging science while breaking down the stigma surrounding it. Here’s what she had to say in an interview.

What was your major in the College? When did you graduate? With what degree?

I graduated in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in allied health science.

What CAHNR class was most useful to you? 

Classes like organic chemistry, biology and anatomy and physiology prepared me for working closely with medical and science teams, engaging in research about the human endocannabinoid system and different cannabinoids found in Cannabis and hemp.

Other various courses in allied health taught me the ability to breakdown complex science and health concepts into easily digestible content. This has helped me create educational tools for healthcare providers and dispensaries to share with their audience and patients.

Tell us some of your fond memories of UConn.

UConn gave me a nice balance between academics, activities and a social life. Outside of stimulating courses, I enjoyed UConn basketball. Growing up in Connecticut meant UConn basketball was part of our lifestyle, experiencing legendary games at Gampel Pavilion and the XL Center.

First Night provided really fun memories with fellow Huskies displaying an electrifying sense of school pride. Visiting Horsebarn Hill to take a break and visit the cows (my favorite cow was Tequila) or watching the stars at night. Being an RA in McMahon prepared me to become a stronger leader/mentor/coach. I learned about different cultures and it taught me the importance of fostering a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

Please describe your current job.

I am a brand ambassador for a Cannabis and full-spectrum hemp brand called Toast Wellness. With Toast I grow multi-channel product distribution with a focus on dispensaries, traditional pharmacies and e-commerce for the Toast full-spectrum hemp brand (for people and pets), implement digital marketing campaigns and retail activation events to drive brand awareness, consumer activation and product demand, and I also work on projects in Cannabis and hemp. My intent is to adapt my pharmaceutical experience and technology to build innovation to transform the way we think about and use Cannabis.

Are you doing what you imagined you would be doing at this point in your life? 

I always knew that I have a passion for the healthcare ecosystem, but I did not have the blueprint for how I would be involved. Working in Cannabis allows me to be a leader towards the integration of Cannabis in the healthcare ecosystem, technology and culture—everything I am passionate about.

Do you have any advice for current students that will help them in the future?

When thinking about your first career steps, ask yourself, “What am I passionate about, and what is my intent for impact?” Leverage technology to learn and establish connections that will drive you closer to your passion and purpose.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?

The 2020 US election was pivotal in the cannabis industry. I am particularly intrigued by adult-use developments in New Jersey and the Northeast flip that will happen in these next few years. UConn has many patents in Cannabis. I look forward to opportunities to collaborate, further connecting the Huskies to Cannabis, culture and innovation.

By Kim Colavito Markesich