2018 Tillman Scholar

Jason Poudrier

University of Oklahoma

“Through teaching the art of creative writing, I hope to inspire a world that turns to the power of words, not war.”

Two years after joining the Army, Jason Poudrier was on the ground in Iraq, face down in the sand, hit by shrapnel in both of his legs. He recovered from his injuries and, eight months later, ran as a member of Fort Sill’s Army Ten Miler team and was nominated for USO soldier of the year. Promoted to sergeant, he became a section chief for an MLRS ammo platoon and was twice selected as 2-14 Field Artillery Noncommissioned Officer of the Quarter before being medically retired.

Jason’s experiences weighed heavily on his mind: the starving Iraqi children he witnessed as his unit crossed the border from Kuwait into Iraq; his friend’s lifeless body slid up beside him in the back of a deuce and a half; thoughts that he shouldn’t have survived. He found solace in his literature and creative writing classes at Cameron University and found that he was able to turn his intrusive thoughts into powerful poetry.

Through the pursuit of a Doctorate in Education at the University of Oklahoma, Jason seeks to increase his network and gain the knowledge and expertise to design quality writing curriculum and create a global network of artists willing to work with children, veterans and victims of war, connecting them with creative ways to share their experiences. He wants the world to hear and see the stories of war from those who experience its effects firsthand. He wants the world to turn to the power of words, not war.