2019 Tillman Scholar

Christina McKinnon

Military Spouse
University of Texas

“We all have a redemption story. My goal is to inspire others to reflect on their own, the obstacles they’ve overcome and to envision a purposeful future for themselves.”

A tumultuous upbringing, along with caring teachers, counselors and social workers, fueled a passion in Christina to give back with a lifetime of service as a social worker. Aging out of the foster care system, and in recovery from PTSD, she became one of the 1 percent to graduate with a college degree. She married her high school sweetheart, put her career dreams on hold and eagerly jumped in to support his calling as a soldier.

An Army spouse of 15 years, Christina has served her immediate and military families through deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, birthed five beautiful babies and moved ten times between six states. She has been an active leader in Protestant Woman of the Chapel, military co-ops, Family Readiness Groups, Strong Bonds marriage retreats and more. However, the most meaningful experiences for her were those walking beside families affected by trauma, addiction or suicide. She believes that people need to share their stories, and it is in the sharing that the healing begins.

Christina’s dream of becoming a social worker as a child, combined with her heart for military families, has led to a more specific goal of military social work. Upon graduating, she will serve her community with a focus on mental health, substance abuse and addiction. Her vision includes helping others discover the intersection of trauma, healing and courage in their own redemption story.