Kameron Nettleton

Some seniors approaching graduation face uncertainty regarding their next steps.

Opportunities abound in that season of life, but many decisions must be made. That tension can be a challenging thing to work through. But Nathaniel Fuller, a member of the OKWU Class of 2024, already knows what’s next.

Fuller, who will graduate with a double major in Biology and as part of the OKWU Honors College, has felt confident in his next steps for many years. Earlier this spring, he was accepted into the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, and he will begin medical school in the coming months.

“I’ve always felt a calling in my life to help people,” Fuller explained. “That’s what drew me to medicine, starting around ninth grade. It’s going to be a tough journey, but I know the Lord’s behind it.”

One thing is very apparent when you sit down with Fuller – he is dedicated to pursuing the call of God on his life. That calling is what led him to OKWU.

The Path to OKWU

As a senior in high school, Fuller wondered if he should go to Bible school and further his own training in ministry. His father is a pastor and ministry was part of their family ethic. A lifelong Oklahoma resident, he weighed options outside of the state, but he was concerned over the expense of a college education and still felt the call to study medicine.

“One day in the summer after I graduated high school, I got an offer from OKWU that said I had qualified for a scholarship,” he said.

“I understood that was the clear direction of the Lord. That was His provision and Him leading me to come here.”

The scholarship significantly decreased the costs of his education, and OKWU provided some unique opportunities that also drew him in. Though the Honors College was not a fully formed entity then, it was in its beginning stages, and Fuller wanted to be part of it. He had previously taken several classes at OKWU as a high school student, earning credits through the concurrent enrollment program.

“I have such an insatiable curiosity to learn and to find connections between disciplines that might not be so obvious to other people,” he said. “And the Honors College was a chance to learn and stretch myself and to get out of my comfort zone.”

Ultimately, his decision to attend OKWU was affirmed early on in his time on campus.

“I love the relational aspect here between the students and faculty. I wanted to be a part of that instead of going to a university where you’re just one of several and you’re overlooked.”

Making the Most of the Opportunity

OKWU’s position as an interdisciplinary, liberal arts college has allowed Fuller to pursue his dream of studying medicine as well as strengthening his other interests. He is minoring in pastoral counseling, and he serves in his local church by preaching and teaching and believes he will one day be able to use his training in medicine to spread the gospel in other parts of the world.

Fuller plans to focus his studies on Family Medicine and one day open or join a practice as a general practitioner. Before that, he hopes to spend time overseas as a medical missionary. He feels a specific burden for Spanish-speaking countries in Central and South America. Eventually, he would like to have a practice in Oklahoma.

Fuller quickly credits his professors for preparing him for the upcoming challenge that medical school represents. As a student in the School of Health and Sciences, Fuller has had several classes with Dr. Akron Mangimela and Dr. Brian Turner.

“I already knew what I wanted to do before I went to OKWU, but their classes reinforced my desire to help people,” he said. “Dr. Mangimela really emphasized the nature of knowing what you’re doing, being competent, and pursuing excellence. And Dr. Turner incorporates Christ into everything that he does.”

Even in his final semester, Dr. Turner’s class is impacting Fuller. He’s taking astronomy, and he says the class inspires him to worship God through an increased understanding of the cosmos.

“OKWU’s faculty really went out of their way to help me,” Fuller said. “They wrote letters of recommendation, offered invaluable advice, and provided resources I was able to benefit from. They helped by making my goal of medical school part of their personal mission.”

A Launching Point

Fuller has a lot on his plate as he finishes his classwork and prepares to start medical school in late July. When he looks beyond medical school, he wonders about residencies and hospital rotations and where he might end up on the journey. There’s uncertainty even amidst his confidence that this is God’s will for his life.

Whatever the next several years will hold, Fuller is grateful to have the strong foundation that he believes OKWU helped solidify in his life.

“One thing that OKWU has helped me realize is that the Christian experience can never be done alone. It’s always done within a context of a community of believers,” he said.

“My time at OKWU has influenced me and drawn me closer to my local church body. I’m not an island unto myself.”

Fuller graduates in May and will attend Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Skip to content