2021 Tillman Scholar

Caitlin “Cat” Clason

University of Pennsylvania

“As a veteran, future scientist and bioethicist, I am dedicated to closing the research gap on veterans’ health issues and advocating for our rights as research subjects.”

After 9/11, Cat received an Army ROTC Scholarship and served for seven years. During her time in the military, she served as a Company Commander in an airborne unit and volunteered to deploy twice.  First, in 2010 as a member of Task Force Biometrics and again in 2012 as a Cultural Support Team member. These experiences drove home the importance of leading by example and creating solutions if they did not already exist.

She also witnessed and experienced first-hand the challenges that women in the military face when trying to receive good healthcare. While on leave, Cat became pregnant with her first child. She quickly learned that most civilian providers were unaware of the military patient population’s unique health risks, and that there was almost no research on female veterans’ health needs. Based on this experience, she began to plan for a career to close that research gap. This desire led her to pursue a master’s in nursing as a women’s health nurse practitioner.

She is now bringing her lived experience as a clinician and veteran to the field of research as she pursues her Ph.D. in nursing with a focus on the singular healthcare needs and patient population concerns of female veterans. She hopes to continue her career investigating the healthcare needs of female veterans, while getting a master’s of bioethics to better advocate for service members and veterans who are human research subjects.