2013 Tillman Scholar

Joseph Colbert

Marine Corps
University of Georgia
M.S., Ecology & Biology

Joseph comes from a long line of family members who have served in the military including his father, brother, numerous uncles, and grandfathers. Growing up with a father in the Navy required moving around the U.S. several times before he settled in South Carolina. Following 9/11, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and served two deployments in Iraq, including the invasion. There, many members of his company were killed in action. To honor their sacrifice, he wanted to go to school to do something purposeful with his life. 

As an undergraduate, he was introduced to wildlife research, which got in his blood, and he couldn’t picture himself doing much else after that. He quickly became passionate about working with wildlife and decided this was his calling to continue serving the community. With this in mind, he engaged in another form of national service after college as an AmeriCorps member, where he did two yearlong contracts researching wildlife in a developed landscape and performing numerous public outreach and educational tasks.  

With his master’s in Ecology he plans to conduct research and publish findings that improve how we manage our natural resources in a more sustainable way, so that humans, wildlife, and the habitats they rely on can exist in harmony together. By conducting ecological research, he believes he can influence policies and provide mechanisms that encourage people to live and behave more responsibly, so that future generations can continue to prosper in a world with many challenges to face, such as growing populations and climate change.