2018 Tillman Scholar

Joseph Filla

University of Maryland
B.S., Computer Science

“Service is a way of life. If I have the ability to help just one person and make their life easier, I would move mountains to do it.”

In 2006 Joe enlisted in the Army Reserves and attended basic training between his junior and senior years of high school. Upon returning to complete high school, and at the height of sectarian violence in Iraq, Joe transitioned to active duty. Joe deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn in 2009-2010, Operation Enduring Freedom 2011-2012 and again in 2013-2014. Joe was medically separated at the Defense Language Institute in 2016 shortly after completing the 46-week Persian Farsi Intermediate Language Course.

Joe engaged daily with Iraqi and Afghan civilians determined to make their countries safer. Working as an Afghan Intelligence Company mentor on a deployment, Joe trained Afghan Army Intelligence Soldiers, teaching the importance of collecting, analyzing, recording and disseminating information, while also attempting to build and implement analysis tools that were driving successful U.S. security operations that could be modified for the Afghan Army. This culminated in the first joint Afghan-American patrol supported by Afghan Army Intelligence collection in Eastern Afghanistan.

Through multiple deployments and operations, Joe witnessed how the effective management, aggregation and analysis of the masses of data on the battlefield could prevent the loss of life and protect others. He hopes, through the study of Information and Data Science, to bring his analytical expertise to new domains to help individuals improve their lives and ensure our government policy is accurately supported by analytical products.