2020 Tillman Scholar
Unsure of what to do with his life after high school, Michael enlisted in the U.S. Army in the spring of 2001. As it turned out, the Army had everything that he was looking for: adventure and challenge, a sense of purpose and the ability to serve his nation on a grander scale. Michael served as an infantryman with 3rd Ranger Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment for four combat deployments. A few of those deployments led to injuries that required physical therapy, subsequently exposing Michael to frontline caregivers tasked with returning function and mobility to those who sacrificed a part of themselves in combat.
After his time in service, Michael returned to civilian life and became a journeyman fire sprinkler fitter. His interest in rehabilitative medicine still piqued (and further encouraged by his own physical therapists at his local Veteran’s Hospital) Michael decided to pursue a doctoral degree in physical therapy.
As a doctor of physical therapy candidate, Michael hopes to continue the legacy of the Veterans Affairs (VA) by serving those who served. He currently volunteers at the local VA and is a research assistant on a study concerning the impact of exoskeleton suits on paraplegic veterans as well as researching new treatments for these veterans.