2017 Tillman Scholar

Austin McKinney

Air Force
Harvard University

“Our generation has a duty to preserve national security through international cooperation.”

Following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, Austin’s passion for military service was deeply held from a young age. Serving with the U.S. Air Force across four continents taught Austin that the United States has an indispensable role in ensuring global peace and prosperity.

Through his training in the Air Force, Austin learned Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese to become a Foreign Area Officer in Latin America. He served at the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá to advance our security partnership with Colombia. He also deployed with a humanitarian assistance mission in Honduras to provide medical care to rural communities. In these roles, Austin saw firsthand how the U.S. Government can implement foreign policy that benefits both American interests and local stakeholders.

With the incredible support of the Tillman Scholarship, Austin completed an MBA at Harvard Business School to learn more about the intersection of business, economics, and international security. He now serves as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State, with assignments in Pakistan and Mexico focused on economic affairs. Over the long term, Austin aims to promote international cooperation, security, and prosperity through his career as a U.S. diplomat.