2018 Tillman Scholar

Kathryn Piston

Military Spouse
Syracuse University
Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering

“I want to engineer solutions that bring hope to those suffering severe injury or disease.”

A Navy spouse, Katie’s connections to the military began long before she met her husband. The proud granddaughter of a WWII veteran, she designed “smart” military helmets as a curious undergraduate, and spent six years witnessing orthopedic surgery at the local VA hospital. Inspired by the men and women of our military, she is now pursuing doctoral studies at Syracuse University to ensure they and others live the healthiest lives possible.

Katie’s one overarching goal: to make a measurable impact on world health through innovative research that leads to breakthroughs in the treatment of serious diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s or traumatic brain injury. As a doctoral student in biomedical engineering, she is part of a team researching nanocarriers to deliver lifesaving medications to patients with neurodegenerative diseases and infected wounds.

In addition to her research, Katie also values her role as an educator. She serves as a teaching assistant and research mentor for undergraduate engineering students, and has gained deep satisfaction from helping young learners find their own gifts. Her commitment to teaching also transcends the classroom; she also shares her passion for health as a personal trainer, fitness and yoga instructor. Believing that caring for the body is just as important as caring for the mind, she loves to teach the things she believes will make the world a better place.