2023 Tillman Scholar

Drew Rotolo

Harvard University

“The military showed me both the ramifications of conflict and the common aspects of humanity across distinct cultures. I hope to use these experiences to help bridge divides and foster a world of greater mutual understanding.”

Drew commissioned as an officer in the Army in 2014, initially serving as a Bradley platoon leader and  an unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) platoon leader during overseas tours to Kuwait and Eastern Europe. While an undergraduate student at Duke, he spent time in East Africa studying humanitarian issues and developing foreign language skills. In an effort to bridge his academic interests and experiences with his military service, he assessed for civil affairs (CA) in 2017.

Following completion of the CA Qualification Course, he deployed to Syria for Operation Inherent Resolve and  later to Kenya for Operation Octave Shield. These tours enabled him to work on the ground directly with local populations and partner militaries to better inform US strategic objectives and address issues of conflict and instability in both regions. Drew is currently a student at the Harvard Kennedy School pursuing a master’s in public policy. Upon graduation, he hopes to build upon his experiences in the military by finding unique ways to address social problems in conflict zones around the world.