2018 Tillman Scholar
Eric watched the attacks of Sept. 11 unfold while in high school. In the aftermath, he was deeply inspired to see Americans across the country enlist in the military to meet bravely the new threat. Motivated by their determination and pride, Eric took the opportunity to enlist after graduation.
While serving eight years in the Army and Army National Guard, including two years in Iraq, Eric saw the impact of his fellow soldiers’ conviction and determination. He saw his leaders work tirelessly to support their teams, and his colleagues work through high stress to meet their demands. He also grew to enjoy mentoring younger soldiers, helping them to develop leadership and technical skills for their own careers.
While in the National Guard, Eric worked in a neuroscience laboratory and completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. There, Eric learned the scientific study of motivation and stress, two topics which fascinated him as a soldier. Eric went on to finish a master’s degree in behavioral neuroscience at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he conducted research on the impact of stress and drug abuse on learning and motivation. As a scientist, he again enjoyed mentoring and supporting younger researchers. He also loved the opportunity to teach neuroscience to undergraduates and to communicate science in academic publications and public blogs.
Now, as a science writer, Eric helps medical and biotechnology companies explain their research to the public. He works to translate technical scientific information into stories that convey the lifesaving value of science. He’s happy to contribute to the growing appreciation for the capacity for science to overcome critical challenges and alleviate suffering. In his spare time, Eric writes for a mental health outreach organization, helping to bring mental health awareness to the widest possible audience.