Juliann “Juju” Hallum, who grew up in Bakersfield, California, will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in human biology from the School of Humanities and Sciences, and a master’s degree in laboratory animal science from the School of Medicine.

Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

When Juliann “Juju” Hallum arrived at Stanford, she imagined becoming a veterinarian, perhaps setting up a private practice caring for small animals – cats, dogs and other pets.

To pursue her dream, Hallum took courses in comparative medicine, won a fellowship at a veterinary teaching hospital, participated in a seminar at the San Francisco Zoo, shadowed doctors and technicians in the Veterinary Service Center and participated in the Pre-Vet Society, an undergraduate club for aspiring veterinarians affiliated with the Medical School.

Along the way, Stanford transformed Hallum’s vision of veterinary medicine into a field with many career paths, including providing care to exotic, lab, zoo and food animals.

Hallum, who is a member of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma, has been exploring the idea of working for Indigenous communities that are raising livestock.

At Stanford, she has also been exploring her Native heritage – something she wasn’t able to do in her hometown of Bakersfield, California, which has few Indigenous residents.

Last year, Hallum served as the resident assistant for first-year students living in Muwekma-Tah-Ruk, which means “House of the People” in the language of the Muwekma Ohlone, the original inhabitants of the San Francisco Bay Area.

“I was a resource for first-year students who had questions or concerns about living on campus or studying at Stanford – or if they just wanted to have Hot Cheetos with me at midnight,” she said.

At Muwekma, Hallum helped lead the weekly House Seminar, with discussions about issues of personal importance to Indigenous students, such as the occupation of Alcatraz, extreme health disparities within Native communities and the movement of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two Spirit (LGBTQ+) People.

As a student, Hallum also found time to dress up and dance every year at the Stanford Viennese Ball – and to serve as an emcee and on the steering committee for the event, an annual tradition of social dancing, live music, performances and dance contests.

She said one of the important lessons she learned during the pandemic was not to take the opportunity to be with friends and family for granted.

“In the Muscogee language, Mvskoke, the word for family is Cuko Hvmecvlke, which means around/in the house, which is so applicable to my Stanford experience,” Hallum said.

“My family on campus has been fostered by my dorm communities, especially at Muwekma. Having been separated from a lot of my friends and class this year has been difficult, but it also reminds me to be grateful for those bonds in the first place – and that I am so lucky to have found my family here.”