2014 Tillman Scholar

Caesar Hernandez

Marine Corps
University of Florida
Ph.D., Medicine

“I hope to be able to share my knowledge to younger generations so that they may be well-equipped to solve problems we have yet to contemplate.”

Impacted by the events of 9/11, Caesar was motivated by a sense of service, and upon his completion of high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps as an infantry rifleman. During combat tours to Haiti and Iraq, many of his missions required the security of schools and distribution of educational supplies to impoverished areas. These experiences instilled in him both the view that higher education is a privilege and an unwavering commitment to using the abundant educational opportunities in the U.S. to pursue a long-standing passion for science. After three tours, he chose to continue his service through academic means by pursuing a degree in biological sciences at Florida Atlantic University where he earned both a B.S. in Biology/Biotechnology and an M.S. in Biology/Neuroscience.

During his academic training, Caesar became fascinated with the chemical and molecular processes within individual cells, an interest that has since grown into a curiosity about how individual neural cells can support complex nervous system functions such as cognition. Caesar’s curiosity has manifested into a driven career where he is rigorously seeking a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Florida. His current research focuses on neural mechanisms of cognitive aging and the underlying molecular causes of age-related decline in executive functions. Additionally, Caesar’s research includes investigating the neurobiology of stress disorders within the context of executive functions. Caesar’s time in service was instrumental to his experiential growth and he has maintained a passion for volunteering. He currently mentors several undergraduates in hopes to inspire the young minds that will lead us tomorrow.