2015 Tillman Scholar

John Pasciak

University of South Florida

“I want to use my experiences to break down barriers with patients so we can improve their overall heath care.”

Selfless service was the greatest lesson that John learned during his military career, and he credits the military with changing him from an unambitious timid teenager into a driven leader. Called by a sense of duty in the wake of 9/11, he volunteered for the Army infantry, earning two Bronze Stars for his service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Today, his dedication to honor fallen friends motivates him to pay it forward for others at home. In the Doctor of Pharmacy program at the University of South Florida, John is specializing in pharmacogenomics in order to apply how inherited genetic differences can affect individual responses to drug treatments. As a pharmacist, he wants to serve as a trusted source for patients and to provide reliable information to a team of medical professionals.

After graduation, John hopes to practice at a Veterans Affairs hospital where he can leverage his military experience to support veterans of all generations including those like his uncle who served as an infantry medic in Vietnam. As a veteran, John believes he owes many of the tactics that kept him alive in Iraq and Afghanistan to the hard fought lessons of Vietnam. Providing the best level of healthcare is his way of giving back to the generation of Vietnam veterans whom he admires so immensely.