2017 Tillman Scholar

Bridgette Bell

Jackson State University
Ph.D., Clinical Psychology

“I want to revolutionize the way the Army employs psychology.”

Hoping to become an Army Doctor through a unique college experience, Bridgette entered the United States Military Academy in 2000. She immersed herself in academic and extracurricular activities, but instead of pursuing medical school she commissioned as a Human Resources Officer in May 2004.  She served as an HR Officer at Fort Bliss and Fort Knox, a Company Commander at Fort Myer, and an Engineering Psychology Instructor at West Point. While deployed to Iraq, she dealt with trauma survivors first-hand as her unit’s primary responder for sexual assault victims.

Bridgette found a passion for psychology in the toils of command. She spent 22 months analyzing and implementing suicide prevention strategies with minimal manning and unimaginable stressors within her unit. She left command with a greater appreciation for the study of resilience, the human dimension, and behavioral health services. She completed a Master’s thesis on the Army Suicide Prevention Program and returned to West Point to teach cadets the power of human-centered design. Bridgette is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Jackson State University and works with the VA on Virtual Reality research. She plans to specialize in trauma, grief, and writing/art therapy.

A fourth-generation soldier, Bridgette is truly proud to wear the uniform. She incorporates military service into every aspect of her life, including as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., The ROCKS, Inc., and an avid volunteer. She recently founded an organization that aims to recycle military uniforms to raise money for homeless veterans programs and veterans services.