2022 Tillman Scholar

Michael Arth

Air Force
Stanford University

“Commitment and passion aren’t the only characteristics required to overcome tough odds, but 13 years in the military has taught me that they are the best foundation from which to start.”

Following the attacks of 9/11, Mike resolved to commit his life to serving in government and helping the United States prevent conflict where possible and to win where prevention fails. He attended Harvard University on an Air Force ROTC scholarship and studied government. Following college, Mike commissioned, attended pilot training, and has now flown for Air Force Special Operations Command for 11 years. He continues to serve as an Air Force reservist focused on bringing emerging technologies to warfighters.

As a special operations pilot, Mike delivered small teams and critical logistics support to remote and austere airfields on five continents and witnessed first-hand the ability of dedicated, passionate individuals working together to accomplish the seemingly impossible. Frequently, he experienced the difficulties that come with driving change in large, complex organizations. Mike spent his last four years on active duty as a staff officer at Joint Special Operations Command and Air Force Special Operations Command Headquarters, where he focused on bringing cutting-edge technologies into special operations and driving a culture of innovation among operational units and staff organizations.

Mike will attend Stanford’s Graduate School of Business where he will focus his studies on innovation and change management and ultimately hopes to serve in government again to help drive adaptation and innovation in public organizations.