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Physiology pre-med sciences major Johna Pulliam named an Outstanding Senior

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Media Contact: Jacob Longan | Coordinator of Communications and Marketing, College of Arts and Sciences | 405-744-7497 | jacob.longan@okstate.edu

Some of Physiology major Johna Pulliam’s favorite things about OSU prior to the pandemic were sporting events and learning in person with professors and classmates, so COVID-19 restrictions made for some difficult adjustments.

But the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, native said the past year has also been full of uniquely positive opportunities, too. 

“My unexpected silver linings came from being able to invest in those closest to me and cherish the memories made with them,” Pulliam said. “I still was able to spend time with my closest friends and mentor students younger than me. At the end of the day, relationships built here at Oklahoma State mean the most to me and I feel like I was able to invest more into individuals closest to me because of the pandemic.” 

Johna Pulliam
Johna Pulliam

Another senior-year surprise for Pulliam was being named an OSU Alumni Association Outstanding Senior. She said she was “genuinely shocked” to be among the 22 chosen for the award. 

“I always admired the individuals older than me who had received this honor. I never dreamed that I would be selected,” Pulliam said. “It was very humbling and I am so honored. With every activity and organization I have been a part of, I wanted to make a positive impact on my community around me. This award, to me, feels like I have accomplished my goal of leaving Oklahoma State better than when I arrived.” 

Pulliam’s involvement in both campus and community organizations suggest that she will indeed leave a lasting impact on Stillwater. She was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta fraternity and Junior Greek Life, participated in the Student Alumni Board, Student Government Association, Freshman Representative Council (as both a coordinator and member) and the College of Arts and Sciences Freshman Student Council, and served at Our Daily Bread Food and Resource Center, Into the Streets and Stillwater Medical Center.

“My advice to any freshman would be to take time ... to find out what you’re truly passionate about — whether it be volunteering in the community, doing research, joining campus organizations or any other opportunities — and put your time and energy into those things,” Pulliam said. “Once you find those places and organizations that you love, invest in the individuals around you and build a community that will challenge you to be better. Don't waste time doing things just for the résumé.”

Along with everything she did locally, Pulliam also spent a semester abroad in Basel, Switzerland, where she was a “representative for OSU to all my new friends.”

“Studying abroad pushed me outside my comfort zone and built my confidence in so many ways,” Pulliam said. “My time away in Switzerland also made me that much more appreciative of the Cowboy family and traditions at OSU. While I loved Switzerland, I couldn’t wait to get back to Oklahoma State and continue making memories with my favorite people.” 

As Pulliam prepares to move to Houston after graduation to work in the medical field and gets ready for physician assistant school, she’s taking to heart the “biggest lesson” she learned while at OSU: “It’s OK to be scared about the next step, but sometimes you just have to take it not knowing what comes next.”

“Throughout my college career, I've learned that you will never have all the answers needed to take the next step,” Pulliam said. “You either choose to be courageous or choose to stay on the sidelines out of fear. Take the next big step, figure it out along the way — life is too short to be scared of what’s next!”

Story By: Elizabeth Gosney | College of Arts and Sciences graduate student | egosney@okstate.edu

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