2024 Tillman Scholar

Clara Navarro

Columbia University

“The stories of people compel me. As a Public Affairs Officer, I worked to convey these stories. Next, as a physician, I aim to help to shape these stories.”

Clara joined the Navy for two reasons: to serve and to see the world. Five years, hundreds of hours on watch, and 44 countries later, she is proud to be a veteran. Upon graduation from the Naval Academy, Clara’s first assignment was aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, where she served as the Deputy Public Affairs Officer and Principal Assistant of the Media Department. Alongside the crew, she completed a record-breaking deployment from Norfolk, Virginia, to San Diego, California, circumnavigating the globe in the process. 

Returning to land, Clara worked for two years in Naples, Italy as Media Officer for the Navy’s Europe, Africa, and Middle East Region headquarters. In this role, she coordinated communication between eight naval bases and seven host-nation embassies, overseeing public affairs strategy through the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2021 evacuation of Afghanistan. 

Clara rounded out her naval service with a year at Navy Installations Command in Washington D.C. She was subsequently granted a Fulbright Award to conduct mental health research in Bangalore, India. At India’s National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience, Clara worked to validate a psychometric scale for measuring patient spirituality. 


Full steam ahead, Clara is looking forward to learning in medical school. She aims to provide person-centered care to her future patients and to educate the public with accurate, useful information on health.