2015 Tillman Scholar

Nate Smith

Marine Corps
Columbia University
B.A., Political Science

“I want to work countless hours to make sure my brothers and sisters in arms are looked after.”

Motivated to enlist in the Marines after the 9/11 attacks, Nate never felt more certain about any decision in his life. If his country required men and women to answer a higher calling to protect others, he wanted to help in any way that he could.

During nine years serving with the Marines, his overseas experiences offered new perspective on military combat operations and civilian humanitarian projects. But his decision to serve came with a price. Just before separating from active-duty service, Nate lost two of his best friends, who were killed in combat in Afghanistan.

After losing his brothers, Nate felt his mission and calling to serve was not over. He wanted to channel that loss and pain into a positive outcome, providing support for other veterans struggling with issues from their service. This led him to co-found The Redstone Project, a new nonprofit for transitioning veterans.

At Columbia University, Nate is now pursuing his undergraduate studies in Political Science and International Relations with the goal to continue serving in the nonprofit sector, as well as work in the venture and startup industry. His training and deployments have equipped him to make a difference on the global stage, and as a veteran he is committed to supporting disaster relief operations overseas through Redstone and other initiatives.