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Oct 16
Student Spotlight: ​Surya Pukazhenthi

Surya Pukazhenthi sunflower field.jpgSurya Pukazhenthi is a second-year Dunn Sports and Wellness Scholar who is literally flying through the sky toward his future goals. An air transportation major hailing from Maryland, Pukazhenthi is a first-generation American who never thought he would end up in the Midwest. Now here, Pukazhenthi seizes every opportunity and greets each day with optimism.

Why did you choose The Ohio State University?

I chose The Ohio State University because of the aviation program, its location in a city, and how big its reach is. Everywhere you go someone is, was, or will be a Buckeye.

Why did you pick Honors and Scholars?

I picked the Dunn Sports and Wellness Scholars program because it allowed me to pursue my interests in sports and wellness that had nothing to do with my major.

How has The Ohio State Scholars Program contributed to your college experience?

Being in scholars has provided me with the chance to be around people with interests similar to mine. Most of my close friends at Ohio State were met through scholars, which is one thing I am very grateful for.

Surya Pukazhenthi flying.jpgAre there professional staff members that have assisted you on your Ohio State journey?

Most of my professors have helped me along the way, but one that stands out, in particular, is John Barbas. In aviation, there are tough times where you can feel burnt out or lack motivation, but whenever I walked into his class, he would find a way to reignite that flame in me to keep pursuing my dreams of flying.

How has Covid-19 affected you? How have you dealt with those effects?

Covid-19 has impacted me pretty hard. During lockdown, I couldn't fly for six months while the weather was good, which set me back in terms of hours and ratings. I dealt with it by realizing that sometimes things are out of your control, and it's not worth worrying about how they impact you, and I just sort of made the best out of the time I had at home.

What is your why for wearing a mask?

While I am not immunosuppressed, many people I know and many I don't are. I don't think that I should be the reason that their lives are at risk because I didn't want to do something as simple as wearing a mask. I also want life to get back to normal as soon as possible, and wearing a mask is currently our best way to do that, so wear your mask!

What does #TogetherAsBuckeyes mean to you?

#togetherasbuckeyes means that we are all a big Buckeye family. Even though we all come from different races, places, backgrounds, and lives, we are all able to relate as Buckeyes. In times like this, it is important that we are able to just be kind to one another.

Surya Pukazhenthi buckeyethon.jpgWhat are some of your most memorable moments at Ohio State?

My most memorable moment at Ohio State was the BuckeyeThon dance marathon last year. It was so rewarding to be dancing for the kids while raising money for curing pediatric cancer. A big bonus was that you got to spend 12 hours with your friends!

What is something true about your life now that you never would've expected?

Growing up on the East Coast, I never could've seen myself going to school in the Midwest, but here we are now year two and loving it!

What are your goals/plans for the future in general?

All I know about the future is that I want to fly planes for a living in some capacity. Whether it be flying bush planes in Alaska or flying for the airlines, I just want to have fun. So, my plan now is to have fun with life and see where it takes me.