PSS16 Logo - FINAL

Current Pullman Scholars and all 31 of the new scholar cohort attended our third annual Pullman Scholar Symposium on May 20, 2016, dedicated to developing our scholars’ financial literacy, life skills, and professional expertise, while building a stronger Pullman Scholar Community.

Based on scholar feedback from last year, this year’s sessions were made as interactive as possible. The symposium began with an inaugural Pullman Scholar keynote speech given by Corie Wilkins, a 2016 graduate of the University of Missouri. Corie discussed the ups and downs throughout his college experience and how he continued to overcome adversity, grew to believe in himself, and used resources to reach his goals. Scholars shared that listening to his journey was relatable, and Corie reiterated that no Pullman Scholar is alone, and offered strategies for success.

From left to right, back to front: Jasmeen Wellere, Angela Fong, Christopher Nowak, Corie Wilkins, Maribell Heredia, Billy Leung, Tyrianna Jones, Alyssa Zediker, Asia Muhammad

From left to right, back to front: Jasmeen Wellere, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, ’16; Angela Fong, Kalamazoo College, ’16; Christopher Nowak, DePaul University, ’16; Corie Wilkins, University of Missouri, ’16; Maribell Heredia, University of Illinois at Chicago, ’17; Billy Leung, University of Michigan, ’16; Tyrianna Jones, Illinois State University, ’16; Alyssa Zediker, Miami University, ’16; Asia Muhammad, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, ’16.

Another inaugural opportunity for our scholars at the symposium was leading a session. Nine Pullman Scholars planned and facilitated sessions — two scholars worked with session facilitators from last year to add a more student-centered focus and share their experiences, four scholars facilitated a panel discussion about finding and making the most of opportunities, and two scholars facilitated a core conversation about how to make influential, positive changes in their life, campus, and community.



In the evening, scholars honed their networking skills during an interactive activity with more than Pullman Scholar Alumni and guests. Everyone was then inspired by keynote speaker alumnus Patrick T. Murphy, MS, Associate Director of Communications at the Midwest Augustinians, who spoke about his journey of finding his passion; philanthropy and helping people.

The day ended with a reception for current scholars, alumni and guests to grow their network and be inspired by each other.

Thank you to our alumni volunteers who helped throughout the day and everyone who was able to attend. It was a successful day of education for our scholars and an enlightening evening.

To experience the energy of the day, watch the recap video below:

Corie Wilkins is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri, where he received a Bachelors of Journalism in broadcast with an emphasis in production. However, there’s much more to his story, and that doesn’t define who he is. 


His journey through college was a challenging one and it produced a lot of growth. The rough situations he was put in pushed him to places he never thought he’d see. During those four years, he’s been on top of the world, and at other times, he’s felt like the world was on top of him. Through it all, his journey has taken him to great places, given him great experiences, and has put him in rooms with people he never thought would know his name. Eventually, he found his passion for ministry, particularly in the realm of social justice. He will begin pursuing a Master’s of Divinity at Duke Divinity this fall. 


He has served as the only undergraduate member of the Faculty Council Committee on Race Relations on campus, as a writing tutor, a personal trainer, a television news reporter, news producer, and a bouncer in his professional career thus far. He’s worn a lot of different faces and not one experience was wasted. 


Corie Wilkins will be giving an incredible lunch keynote speech during the Pullman Scholar Symposium – the first time for a scholar to be giving a keynote to other scholars. Look forward to learning more about his journey through college and post-grad life.