2019 Tillman Scholar
Jessica enlisted in the Marine Corps to find her greater purpose and to leave a legacy of excellence. Jessica supported units with ammunition and explosives which included crucial training exercises in Thailand, Australia, South Korea, and the Philippines. Her exceptional efforts and tremendous contributions allowed her to assume jobs with increasing responsibility, to be promoted ahead of her peers and to be awarded medals.
From Jungle Warfare Training, to completing her associate degree, Jessica continually strengthened her credibility as a leader. She advocated to minimize gaps in medical services and the availability of items at the base PX. Her leadership earned her a seat at the table with the MARFORPAC Commanding General to speak on strategies to mitigate sexual harassment and assault. Jessica left the Corps having empowered her troops to also take ownership and to lead with excellence.
Following her enlistment, Jessica relocated to Colorado to continue to lead and serve. While completing her bachelor’s degree, Jessica investigated the impact of shelter conditions on child health, identified gaps in community social services and assisted youth aging out of the foster care system. These experiences created a passion to understand the dynamics that place individuals at risk of becoming human trafficking victims.
Learning more about these gross human rights violations led her to begin her Master of Public Health in Epidemiology degree with the vision to end forced labor and human trafficking of children by exposing the causative factors, thereby enabling the success of targeted solutions and directing a unified approach.