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Kami Pullakhandam

Kami is a junior majoring in Global Health and Public Policy Studies. She finds fulfillment in understanding how gaps in healthcare can be resolved by effective policy. In the future, she hopes to pursue a career in medicine, leaning on knowledge learned at Duke to broaden her skillset as a doctor.

L's Taken


"Thank you for applying but..."

  • Several DukeEngage programs 

  • So many Bass Connections projects 

  • Internships with the United Nations Foundation 

  • Huang Fellows 

  • CEF Advocates 

  • Robertson Scholars


Things I thought I'd finish but never did

  • So so so many books 

  • Field research in India 

  • Several podcasts


Everyday L's of life

  • Putting unfolded laundry on my bed and moving it to my chair when I sleep, only to move it back to my bed in the morning 

  • Making coffee in the morning and forgetting to put the mug under the machine 

  • Never having a matching pair of socks 

  • Freaking out about misplacing my phone 173 times a day 

  • Always asking for a charger no matter where I go 

  • Losing at least 2 water bottles every year

On the Bright Side


Memories I made when I wasn't working/studying

  • Driving to Mapleview ice cream with the windows down and music blasting in the car 

  • Sitting on BC plaza and constantly running into friends 

  • Early afternoon brunches at Marketplace 

  • Having a sunset picnic at the Duke Gardens 

  • Stopping at random spots on the way home from a dance competition only to take silly self-timer pictures 

  • Midnight hallway conversations with my best friends 

  • Late night shenanigans that always end with a Cookout milkshake 

  • Group vent sessions that finish with reasons we’re thankful for each other 

  • Cuddling with my dog during cold winter mornings


Things I've learned that will still matter in 10 years

  • “We do not have control, but we have many many choices” – a 3:30 am quote from one of my best friends 

  • Think about life events by the 10/10/10 rule – you may still be upset 10 days from now, but 10 months from now it’ll be history and 10 years from now, you will have forgotten about the moment altogether. A valuable lesson I learned from Professor Carnes during PubPol 155. 

  • Nothing is ever set in stone 

  • Commitment to your work is just as important as commitment to your relationships. Life is about balance, not blind, never-ending hard work.


TV shows, movies, and books I've enjoyed

  • New Girl 

  • The Queen’s Gambit 

  • Snowpiercer 

  • Being Mortal 

  • The Invention of Madness 

  • Little Women – the first “classic” novel I ever read 

  • Love Island – I’m a sucker for trashy reality TV 

  • The Big Truck That Went By 

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks 

  • Becoming 

  • Pride and Prejudice 

  • The Kite Runner 

  • The Last Lecture 

  • A Little Life


Things I'm proud of that you won't see on my resume

  • Being a fiercely loyal friend 

  • Becoming a morning person 

  • My ability to imitate my little brother 

  • Developing a healthy daily routine and exercising regularly 

  • Learning how to work efficiently throughout the day and effectively manage time 

  • Being okay with setting aside academic responsibilities for the sake of my relationships and wellbeing


Unconventional skills


Quirks that make me who I am


Small joys in my life

  • Discovering new music 

  • ABP iced vanilla lattes 

  • Studying by the window in the mornings to see the sunrise 

  •  Printing out pictures from my phone every year and reminiscing on the memories 

  •  Falling asleep the second my head hits the pillow 

  •  A really good morning stretch 

  •  Sending and receiving TikToks 

  •  Finding out movie and TV show co-stars are together in real life 

  •  Beautiful sunsets (the ones at Duke just hit different) 

  •  Eucalyptus and spearmint scented anything


Obstacles I have overcome


Things I've done that pushed me out of my comfort zone


Failures that seemed like the end of the world back then but don't matter in hindsight

  • Ending freshman year at Duke having been rejected from nearly everything I applied to 

  • Failing numerous Orgo and Gen Chem tests 

  • Finishing only 50% of my first Physics I exam 


Leaps of Faith


Life events that have made me stronger


of my favorite quotes

  • “Her laugh as infectious as the freshman plague” – a segment from a friend’s slam poem 

  • “I think humans were meant to hibernate. We just forgot to for a couple generations and then evolution” – a very sleep deprived fellow pre-med of mine 

  • “He experiences the singular pleasure of watching people he loved fall in love with other people he loved” – a quote from a character in A Little Life 

  • “Can the bread come get me for once?” – a post on Twitter 

  • “I’m just so used to me and my friends making fun of each other, I think I’ve been conditioned to reject that level of human decency or something” – one of my best friends as she remarks on a compliment she received 

  • “Just because people don’t live in beautiful homes doesn’t mean their dreams aren’t big and their souls aren’t rich” – A quote from Searching for Sugar Man

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