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.
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.
Now, as a doctoral candidate in the Behavioral Neuroscience program at the University of California, Los Angeles, Eric conducts research exploring the impact of stress and drug abuse on learning and motivation. Through his research, he hopes to support better treatment of addiction and stress disorders, as well as mentor young scientists and teach students. He intends to pursue a career in education and research, determined to bring greater understanding of motivation and addiction to our society.