2014 Tillman Scholar
With his grandfather fighting in WWII, father serving in Vietnam, and brother deploying to war in Iraq where he became disabled, Sowell always knew he would follow this family tradition of service before self.
In his first year of graduate school at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, he enlisted as a private first class in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, while simultaneously completing his graduate degree and working at Amherst College. After graduation, he went on active duty as an officer. Sowell found his experience in Afghanistan both life changing and humbling. Serving as an enlisted Marine, then being selected as an officer to serve those same Marines as their leader was the most daunting responsibility he had ever accepted. That experience became a way for him to repay his country for the enormous opportunities it had provided him.
His tour of duty with fellow Marines in Afghanistan helped him realize how fortunate he is and persuaded him to make a difference in his home state of Florida.