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Tori Puellman shares thoughts, experiences as a Who’s Who winner

Who’s Who Among Students is a national award that recognizes students who excel in scholastic achievement. At Oklahoma Christian University, 125 students reached the Who’s Who list. In an upper level journalism class, students interviewed 13 names off of the list.

World traveler Tori Puellman is using her experiences abroad to gear up for a new adventure in Nashville, TN, after graduation.

Born and raised in Saint Louis, MO, the 22-year-old senior is nearing the end of the road towards a degree in International Business, which she will receive in April.

Throughout her time at Oklahoma Christian, Puellman has been involved in a variety of activities, programs and organizations. Puellman is a three-year member of the social service club Theta Theta Theta, in which she participated in campus events such as homecoming and Spring Sing. Puellman serves as the current president of Tri-Theta for 2016-2017, a role she will pass down in April. Along with serving in Tri-Theta, Puellman is a member of Delta Mu Delta and Alpha Chi. Puellman also serves in various capacities with Kibo Group International and Frontline Church in Oklahoma City.

In the summer of 2016, Puellman had the opportunity to serve with Kibo Group, a nonprofit organization tackling social justice and poverty in Uganda, Africa. During her time in Uganda, Puellman said she was able to observe the people of Uganda and gain insight into their culture. Puellman also worked in the Kibo Group café, Source Café, where she served and cooked alongside the Ugandan people.

According to Puellman, after she returned from the mission trip, she realized her true passion of working in underprivileged communities, and realized she wanted to use her major to help serve others in need. Due to her interactions with mission work, Puellman said after graduation she plans on taking her international business degree to the urban area of Nashville to work with underdeveloped, inner-city communities.

Beyond mission work and community projects, Puellman said she also enjoys being outside and exploring new places. Puellman recently traveled to Chicago, IL, Washington D.C., Centennial, WY, and journeyed across the world as part of the Vienna studies program at Oklahoma Christian.

According to Puellman, through her journeys and adventures she developed several close friendships, including two of her closest friendships with fellow seniors Annemarie McNally and Kristin Bural.

Looking back on her time at Oklahoma Christian, Puellman said she is grateful the university provided her lifelong friends and a degree, as well as unique experiences and opportunities she will carry with her in the future.

Q: How do you feel about being chosen for Who’s Who?

A: It’s exciting to be chosen for the Who’s Who list because it confirms all the hard work I have put into my education. Also, it positively communicates to future employers that I strive to excel in everything I do, which is an awesome tool that helps me stand a part from other applicants.

Q: When you say everything you do, what specifically are you involved in?

A: I am the President of Tri-Theta, a member of Delta Mu Delta, a member of Alpha Chi, and the Lobby Coordinator for the Executive Spring Sing team. Outside of OC, I am a Kibo Group International fellow and volunteer with Frontline Church.

Q: What influenced you to run for president of Tri-Theta?

A: I was originally supposed to graduate early, but after talking to people who graduated and who were current seniors at the time, I just felt like I would regret graduating early. Once I decided to stay, I thought that would be a good position to serve my sisters, but also to grow myself as a leader, and really just continue to try to move Theta in an up direction.

Q: You mentioned one of your hobbies is traveling. What has traveling taught you about life?

A: Traveling opens your eyes to the world. It’s amazing how going to a new place and living there for such a short time can change your perspective on how to do life, but also how people interact and how people work together. It teaches you about the world, it teaches you about what’s important.

Q: You said you wanted to move to Nashville. Since you’re not from there, why do you want to move there?

A: Myself and my two other roommates are kind of in the same boat of choosing to do whatever we want, and we were like, ‘Let’s move somewhere fun,’ and so D.C. was mine and Kristin’s original place we wanted to go, but after talking to Annemarie, we realized she wanted to live a more suburban life. We all had been to Nashville on different occasions, and we felt like it was a city that had a lot to offer. It was a good compromise everyone wanted.

Q: You mentioned in Nashville you plan on working in sustainable development. What specifically are you planning to do?

A: I’m still working that out. Nashville is a great city, but I’m coming to realize it’s not super internationally connected. So, I think for me, I would love to work with a sustainable development company that’s international, but in Nashville I feel like that’s going to be more community-development based, so going into poorer areas and working in areas to help empower and educate people as well as help train them on how to save their money.

Q: How has your time at Oklahoma Christian prepared you for working in impoverished communities?

A:  I wouldn’t say that OC as a whole prepared me to work with impoverished communities. While Dr. Drew’s class, international consulting, has a wealth of knowledge on impoverished communities, my internship with Kibo group was the best source of preparation.

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