Priya Pookkalum is a sophomore hailing from Broadview Heights, Ohio. If she was a fruit, she’d be a mango because mangos are the bomb.

Last year you joined a new organization named Partners in Health Engage. What is PIH and why is it important to you?

When I was a senior in high school, I shadowed a doctor in a hospital nearby. She was a cardiologist, and her patient needed a medication. He couldn’t afford it because of his insurance plan. It just wouldn’t cover it. So, the doctor had to prescribe him another medicine that was less effective and had more side effects. It struck me as really wrong that the health system is so dependent on money that you have to deny someone proper care because they can’t afford it. PIH believes health is a human right, and it’s about advocating to build lasting health for the local people. I heard about it last year through a friend and have been sucked in ever since.

You’re a choreographer for Bollywood Black this year. How’s it going?

I was in Bollywood Black last year and it was a blast; our choreographers were great. I’m choreographing it this year with Rhea and Yuthika, they’re fabulous. They do most of the choreographing, not gonna lie. I’m not a dancer in the same way they are. They’ve been doing classical for years, and I just showed up and I’m like this is fun, let’s do it. Mostly, I enjoy teaching people and our group is great. I’m so excited for TDS!!

What are your opinions on your hometown sports teams?

This past year was the Cavs first championship in 52 years, you gotta give it to us man. I think the Indians are doing pretty well. I don’t know too much about baseball. I’m a band wagoner, but it’s my city, so I feel like I’m allowed. We have good shot at being in the World Series so I’m super excited about that.

Do you miss home often or do you enjoy being in Nashville?

I miss home, but I’m one of those people who just lives in the moment. Not exactly, because I’m neurotic, and I have to plan ahead. But, when I’m Nashville, my life is about what I’m doing in Nashville. I mean, I call my parents and talk to them and all. Still, when I’m here, I’m not sad about home, and when I’m home I’m not sad about Nashville. There’s too many things to be sad about, and that’s not one of them.

What’s a message you have for Vanderbilt? 

As midterms and finals approach, take care of yourselves fam.