2023 Tillman Scholar
David enlisted as a combat medic because he felt a calling to help others. The Army gave him a sense of pride, a chance to carry on his family traditions, and opportunities that are not possible elsewhere. He deployed once to Baghdad, Iraq, and spent the rest of his time serving in the United States. He was honorably discharged in January 2013. After his service, David focused on school and research with the goal of improving public health on a global scale.
Hungry to learn, David has studied biology, psychology, pre-medicine, public health, environmental sciences, evolution, and complexity (the study of how individual interactions can have large emergent effects). His time as a medic in Iraq shed light on how impactful the interactions of social groups can be on individuals’ welfare, especially their health. It gave him a passion for bettering our understanding of these processes and improving them.
David is pursuing his Ph.D. in evolution, ecology, and organismal biology, studying the new scientific field of complexity. He is constructing ways to better understand the development of large complex social systems and how they impact the wellbeing of individuals. He is interested in social determinants of health and uses his research to advocate, at the state and federal levels, for ways to improve policies that affect our ever growing and more complex societies. His work will give us new tools to address disparities created by emergent social problems and allow us to improve individual wellbeing on a societal scale.