2024 Tillman Scholar

Michael Lemonick

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

“At sea, I learned to judge our ship’s success by the well-being of Sailors; as a surgeon, I’ll assume responsibility for my patients’ care and measure achievement by equivalent standards.”

Michael is a medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and a former Surface Warfare Officer in the Navy. A Philadelphia native, Michael is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and holds a master’s degree in international public management from Sciences Po in Paris, France. 

Inspired by the determination of his parents and four grandparents to overcome their individual bouts with cancer, as well as the lifesaving, compassionate care he witnessed in their physicians, Michael has long desired to treat patients through a career in medicine. However, it was important to him to serve his country before beginning his medical training; Michael completed five deployments on a Navy destroyer, three of which as the ship’s Navigator, and was the first Navigator to sail an American warship to the Faroe Islands since the Cold War. 

Most importantly, Michael learned to lead Sailors at sea, away from their homes and loved ones, assume responsibility for their concerns, and coalesce a team to overcome obstacles and complete the mission at hand. Michael pursues his medical education with the goal of becoming a surgeon to treat and research diseases of the nervous system and spine, one of the most common sites for tumor metastasis. Recalling his family’s battles from oncology suites and leadership challenges he faced during trying deployments, Michael aims to treat patients suffering from advanced-stage cancer and imbue them with the strength to persevere, overcome, and heal.