Aftab Pureval, a junior in political science, was tapped to be an extra in Blue Car – an independent film – shooting near his hometown in 2001. When an actor became ill, an emergency audition was held and Pureval got the part: seven lines, two scenes.
“I never acted until that day, and I haven’t acted since,” he said.
Being at the right place, at the right time (and obviously, a little hidden talent) gave him this extraordinary opportunity, but this is not the norm for Pureval. Throughout his 21 years, he’s made his own luck, so to speak, through hard work and ambition.
Aftab Karma Singh Pureval was born on Sept. 9, 1982 in Xenia, Ohio.
“Karma is my Tibetan name and Singh is my given Punjabi Indian name,” Pureval said.
The names reflect his mother and father’s heritage, respectively.
Pureval, his father, Devinder, and his mother, Drenko, moved to Beavercreek, Ohio when he was four years old. Pureval has one sibling: a 15-year-old brother, Avid.
“As a kid, I was very awkward, subdued, withdrawn. Now I’m very loud,” Pureval said with a smile. “I was saving up.”
In fact, it was Pureval’s outgoing nature that caught the attention of Mike Goodman, Undergraduate Student Government president, the first time they met.
In 2001, Goodman attended a meeting with the latest USG interns. The freshmen took turns saying their names, but Pureval did not stop there. He stood up and gave everyone a big welcome.
“I knew then that there was something special about him,” Goodman said.
Pureval became the USG Social and Behavioral Sciences senator spring quarter of his freshman year. He served as an intern director his sophomore year and is now one of two chiefs of staff. Pureval’s primary duty is to assist Goodman in running USG’s cabinet, made up of over 300 people this year.
“I appointed Aftab because he’s got the perfect balance of fun and getting the work done,” Goodman said.
He also noted that Pureval doesn’t settle for anything but the best – a sentiment echoed by Kay Robinson, coordinator of student involvement and leadership and Pureval’s BuckeyeThon advisor. Pureval is one of the event’s co-directors.
“He stops at nothing,” Robinson said.
Pureval is forward-thinking, always anticipating what needs to be done next, Robinson said.
Pureval handles BuckeyeThon’s production aspects, such as dancer relations, finance and catering.
The proceeds BuckeyeThon garners benefit Columbus Children’s Hospital, and for Pureval, it is a labor of love. He danced for the event his freshman year and served as a morale captain last year.
“When you see the gratitude you can inspire in a sick child, how can you not come back for more?” Pureval said.
It is this compassionate nature that Pureval’s friend Alison McCartney, a junior in English and Spanish, appreciates so much.
“He truly cares about everything that he does and really works to improve student life here at Ohio State,” McCartney said.
Pureval and McCartney have been friends since their freshman year, when they lived on the same floor in Lincoln Tower.
Pureval also contributes to the student community as a human resource for first-year students. He is a resident advisor in Smith Hall and clearly relishes his role.
“Res Life is something I really enjoy. My staff is great. My co-RA is a perfect match. My hall director and assistant hall director couldn’t be better. The kids on my floor, the relationships I’ve developed with them, the things they’ve taught me – it’s incredible,” Pureval said.
Though Pureval seems to handle his obligations easily, he insists that the efforts of his co-chief of staff, Deb Mason; BuckeyeThon co-director, Stephanie Shertzer; and co-resident advisor, Lola Omoyosi, make all the difference.
“My support system is great,” Pureval said.
However, his lack of free time can take a toll on his personal life.
“As busy as I am, I don’t devote enough time to my friends,” Pureval said.
Any spare moments, then, are spent with them. Pureval likes playing poker, watching movies or just catching up, he said.
Pureval’s plans for the future are uncertain, but he does intend to go to law school. He has considered deferring admission for two years to do a stint with Teach for America, an organzation that recruits recent college graduates to teach in low-income communities across the country.
“Be the change” is one of Pureval’s favorite quotes. And as evidenced by his intense involvement, he has taken it to heart.