2018 Tillman Scholar
When Katie’s husband sustained a blast-induced traumatic brain injury (TBI) during a deployment, it took five years for him to overcome the stigma surrounding TBI and receive proper treatment. Unfortunately, this is not unique, as service members often do not receive timely and appropriate evaluation and management of cognitive and speech changes that result from TBI, particularly when the impairment is mild. Katie is driven to change this through research and advocacy.
Growing up an Army brat, Katie was motivated by her father’s service. As an Army spouse, Katie finds inspiration in the deep roots of service to something bigger than oneself that embodies the military community. Her path to service began to take shape when she volunteered to run a Family Readiness Group while in school to become a speech-language pathologist. Her experiences, as an Army spouse of over 13 years, have given her research a distinct purpose and perspective. She is uniquely prepared to understand the challenges and roadblocks to care that service members face.
Katie believes in advocacy that is grounded in research and plans to use this two-fold approach to create meaningful change to improve detection, treatment, and education of TBI in the military. She is currently completing her Ph.D. at the University of Washington. After graduation, Katie hopes to obtain a post-doctoral fellowship to further examine speech and cognition in TBI. Her goal is to use her research to advance awareness and understanding as well as develop an improved TBI treatment protocol for the military.