2023 Tillman Scholar
Erick Miyares is a first-generation Cuban-American born in Hialeah, Florida. Motivated to serve the nation that welcomed his family with open arms, Erick enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1991, serving in the reserves until 1997 before transferring to the Army. He is an accomplished former special operator and intelligence professional with 29 years of combined service, during which he served in various highly technical roles of national significance. He earned a B.S. and M.S. in Cybersecurity amidst combat deployments and training rotations.
In 2019, his life took a turn when he lost two teammates to suicide within a single month. Struggling to make sense of these losses, he decided it was time to seek help and set an example. In 2020, he attended the National Intrepid Center of Excellence for traumatic brain injury, where he realized that the toll of combat and service was not solely physical. He had experienced cognitive fatigue, occupational burnout, and the disabling effects of the highly technical and complex work he had undertaken. To raise awareness, he became deeply involved with veteran advocacy programs focused on suicide prevention, mental health, and psychological distress associated with special operators and intelligence professionals, sharing his vulnerabilities as strengths.
As a Ph.D. student in cyberpsychology, Erick is focused on examining the factors leading to cognitive fatigue and deterioration in the mental health of cyber operators. In addition, he aims to improve cognitive resiliency and reduce the cognitive workload of cyber operations and similar high-assurance military occupations.