2022 Tillman Scholar

Justin Kan

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“Building a sustainable world is a team sport. I want to be the coach who helps rally the various players into a cohesive and winning team in clean ventures.”

Growing up in Southern California, Justin routinely surfed in the Pacific and skied in the Sierra Nevadas. Despite enjoying the natural beauty, Justin was profoundly affected by the sinister smog over Los Angeles and worries deeply about the long-term consequences of climate change. After attending West Point, earning a history degree, and serving as an infantry officer, Justin hungered to make a bigger impact. He earned his Green Beret and led a special forces team on deployments to the Middle East. There, he was awed by the local hospitality and generosity from people who had objectively very little. While working closely with partners overseas, Justin realized his true passion: helping vulnerable people live more prosperous lives by bringing individuals and organizations together to solve the most meaningful problems.

Leaving the service, Justin sees climate change as the most urgent threat to long-term human prosperity. As a brand new father and avid outdoorsman, he’s passionate about fighting back. He is pursuing concurrent business and policy degrees to understand the roles government and private business will need to play in pursuit of a comprehensive climate solution. He plans to begin his post-grad career by focusing on clean and sustainable business practices that work hand in hand with government policies and regulations. Justin believes collaboration is key to finding lasting solutions and is excited to devote himself to cultivating meaningful relationships within private industry and government. He is pursuing a dual degree at MIT Sloan School of Business and Harvard University’s Kennedy School.