2019 Tillman Scholar

Kristi Pelzel

Military Spouse
Georgetown University
M.A., Communication, Culture & Technology

“Passion and confidence move people forward, sometimes in a direction they least expected, but it ends up being the best thing that ever happened.”

Raised in a family where hard work was valued over education brought Kristi experiences of patience, flexibility, and resilience, until she realized that she could only grow as much as her environment could support. Education was her bridge to opportunity, but it wasn’t an easy road. Months after her son was born, her husband deployed. During this time, they discovered their son had a debilitating illness.

Kristi eventually won an award for raising money for Make-A-Wish, she volunteered with Special Olympics, and started a small business, working to keep families in crisis together, leading her into the field of digital storytelling. Kristi found a passion and a new talent for visual communications and discovered that many organization’s stories weren’t being told and gaps in partnerships were often because of the need for information translation.

Kristi’s desire for growth in this field led her to earn certifications, accept fellowships and internships and serve in her student body government. She is now an alumna of the Academy of Art University with a B.A. in Digital Technologies and is currently a second-year Communication, Culture, Technology graduate student at Georgetown University. The thematic purpose of her life of service and education followed her at every stop along the way. Now she brings more skills-based technical value to the organizations she supports.

For Kristi, hard work is important, but it’s the ability to put a thoughtfully informed lens in front of that which creates lasting impacts in the lives of people around her.