2013 Tillman Scholar
As a spouse, Donna experienced firsthand the challenges of military life, having sent both a husband and a son off to war. With the support of fellow spouses and the amazing military community, she learned to persevere and grow.
While working as a psychiatric technician in a hospital that primarily served military families, she was motivated to learn as much as she could about addiction and mental health. This path led her to complete a psychology degree, and later master’s degrees in counseling and social work. Working with Service Members and Veterans at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Fort Hood and the Temple VA, left a deep and lasting impact on her life.
Throughout tough spots along the journey, Donna has been inspired by the military service of her husband, a Vietnam Combat Infantryman and Department of the Army social worker. She is a deeply proud Army mom–her son-in-law and son are both serving on active-duty.
As a behavioral health clinician at Ft. Rucker, she pursued training and certification in biofeedback and neurofeedback and set up a program to offer these approaches. During this time, the Fort Rucker community, like other military communities, lost several of its members to suicide, and military suicide reached an urgent level of national concern. Recognizing a need to expand access to integrative health approaches and work for policy changes across the DoD and VA, Donna decided to return to school to pursue a Ph.D. in social work with the goal of researching military suicide and PTSD.