2023 Tillman Scholar

Bob Atkinson

Air Force
Yale University
B.A., Global Affairs

“Leadership is about prioritizing the people and adapting to meet the mission. In the future, I plan to embody those principles in my efforts to eliminate the domestic opioid epidemic.

Originally from Janesville, Minn., Bob is a first-generation college student studying global affairs. After graduating high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and entered the Special Warfare training pipeline. Shortly after completing U.S. Army Ranger School, Bob became the first USAF member to be selected and directly assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment’s Regimental Reconnaissance Company (RRC). While at RRC, he conducted multiple combat deployments to both Afghanistan and Iraq, receiving the Bronze Star medal twice. 

In addition to his military service, Bob interned at the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, focusing his efforts on illicit drug supply reduction. Currently, he is interning at McKinsey & Company’s Minneapolis office. Bob is passionate about affecting U.S. drug policy, improving access to medication-assisted treatment, and eliminating the domestic opioid epidemic. After graduation, he intends to pursue an MPP/JD with an emphasis on health law and policy. In his spare time, Bob drinks coffee, meanders through the Yale University Art Gallery, and reads anything written by Fyodor Dostoevsky.