2017 Tillman Scholar

Elizabeth Abbott

University of Minnesota

“I believe we have an obligation to serve, whether that be in the military or our own communities.”

Elizabeth served nine years in the U.S. Army, including two tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During her last deployment, Elizabeth worked on an Iraqi Army base in the Diyala province as part of a Military Transition Team. The MiTT’s mission focused on helping the fledgling Iraqi Army rebuild their maintenance and logistics branches. Elizabeth served as the team’s supply sergeant, providing them the essentials of daily life, from food to ammunition. They lived sparse but full lives. Elizabeth’s aspirations for a career in social work arose from the gratification she found in this kind of nuanced logistical work.

After returning home, Elizabeth experienced a number of close personal losses, leading her to recognize how the foundation of hospice work mirrors the work of a supply sergeant—both roles help individuals maintain the ordinary aspects of life during extraordinary circumstances. She is now excited to build upon the career path she began in the Army by pursuing a degree in social work, where she hopes to be of service again.