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Student Spotlight: Sydney Pulliam

Name: Sydney Pulliam
Major: Double Major in Batten's BA for Public Policy and Leadership & Art History with a Minor in Psychology
Year: Third

1.    What brought you to the Women's Center? 

I came to the Legal Clinic at the Women's Center after volunteering with the Legal Advocate for the Shelter for Help in Emergency (SHE), Robin Jackson. She taught me how much we can bring to the legal world, especially for women of minority status, by being kind, helpful, and honest. The legal community can be cruel, so everyone needs an advocate in their corner for support.

2.    What is your favorite memory of UVA thus far? 

How could I not say the National Championship? I was in Minneapolis for the Final Four and Championship games. Wahoowa baby!

3.    Who is a woman that inspires you? 

A close friend to my family: Kerri Rhodes. She lost her son, Taylor, to an accidental drug overdose in the summer of 2019. Kerri turned the worst moment of her life, something no mother should go through, into a chance to learn and help others. Kerri is a revolutionary advocate in our community for changing the stigma of addiction and igniting legislative change. She inspired me to apply to Batten in order to create policy changes that advocate for changing the stigma of addiction from a choice to a disease.

4.   What is one thing you do after a stressful day? 

Take my dog, Nova, for a long walk and call my mom, Tracey

5.    How does your work for the Women's Center motivate you? 

My work at the Women's Center motivates me to be the best person I can be, for myself and for others. All the women I work with (S/O Leigh Ann, Alyssa, and Charlotte) are so powerfully strong and supportive that they motivate me to become support systems for others.

6.    What’s a podcast or TV show that’s grabbed your attention recently? 

Transformation Church Podcast! I am strong in my Christian faith, but I never knew learning about the Gospel could be so amazingly fun and hilarious. I would definitely suggest it to anybody looking for life advice, even if you are not traditionally religious.


Submitted by Kerri Rhodes (not verified) on

I can't imagine a person more deserving of the spotlight than Sydney Pulliam. She has been a light in my darkness. Losing my son to addiction literally took me to my knees but people like Sydney, who meant a lot to my son make me feel like there is a little more of Taylor in the world. Sydney's fight to bring Narcan to greek life at UVA and advocate for legislative policy and real change in the way we view addiction. No one chooses addiction and there is a lot of work for us to put a dent in this epidemic. A tennis injury, surgery and a bottle of opiates changed the life of my son, Taylor and all that loved and knew him. Sydney honors him everyday and I am so proud to have a front row seat to the stands of her life. She
will change the world and we will all be better for it. Thank you for honoring her. ~Kerri Rhodes

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