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Press Release

Release Date: January 11, 2022
by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

Chickasaw citizen Kayli Nail, a pre-med biology student at Oklahoma State University (OSU) in Stillwater, Oklahoma, was one of 51 students selected as Seniors of Significance for the 2021-2022 academic year. The Seniors of Significance Award recognizes students who have excelled in scholarship, leadership and service to the OSU campus and community at large.

“A Senior of Significance is something that the alumni association gives out at OSU,” Ms. Nail said. “It is to recognize seniors who have not only contributed academically, but also through leadership throughout the community in Stillwater and their home communities.”

Ms. Nail, along with the other recipients, represent the top 1% of the class of 2022 at OSU. These include seniors from all five OSU undergraduate academic colleges. She was selected through an application process that consisted of being nominated by a faculty member, followed by two letters of recommendation. A panel from the OSU Alumni Association selected her as a recipient.

Ms. Nail currently has a grade-point average of 4.0. She will be graduating in May 2022 and is applying to medical schools.

Ms. Nail comes from a long line of OSU Cowboys.

“My parents and grandparents all went to Oklahoma State University,” Ms. Nail said. “I wanted to go there because of the community. When I visited Stillwater and the college, I fell in love with them. I really like the opportunities the college provides.”

Ms. Nail is active in many clubs and organizations on campus. These include the Native American Student Association and the College of Arts and Science Student Council, where she currently serves as vice president. She is also the former president of the German Club, and a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Ambassadors. Additionally, she is a member of Oklahoma Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation and a member of the Medical Student Association.

The medical field has always been something that has interested Ms. Nail. Her grandfather had Parkinson’s disease and her uncle multiple sclerosis. While in high school, she spent many hours helping them with their conditions.

“I spent a lot of time during my youth driving family to medical appointments,” Ms. Nail said. “I would spend my summers helping my aunt and grandmother. I would take my family to physician appointments. I got a lot of exposure to the medical field helping them.”

She credits the Chickasaw Nation in her education and career choice.

“As a pre-medical student, you often do physician shadowing,” Ms. Nail said. “I went to the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center and was able to follow different physicians around. Seeing the different departments and what they do was a great experience.”

Ms. Nail’s Chickasaw heritage is important to her. Her mother, Kayla, can trace her Chickasaw heritage to the Dawes rolls. Her family continues to live on and farm a portion of their ancestor’s allotment land in Newcastle, Oklahoma.

Currently working at OSU’s Center for Sovereign Nations, Ms. Nail helps fellow First American students collaborate with their tribal nations to receive funding. The center’s student leaders represent 19 tribal nations and serve as ambassadors between tribal nations and OSU.

“The Center of Sovereign Nations is a student-led organization,” Ms. Nail said. “Our goal is to network and connect students at OSU with resources. These can be through their tribal nation, or outside resources such as internships, scholarships or other avenues.”

In the future, Ms. Nail wants to continue to give to the community that has given her so much during her college years.

“I hope to go to a medical school in the state of Oklahoma,” Ms. Nail said. “My goal is to become some type of specialty physician. I would like to contract out or work full time for tribal nations.”