2020 Tillman Scholar

Patrick Metke

Harvard University

“The loss of identity transitioning soldiers experience can be devastating. As someone who has lived this, I want to help veterans identify their ‘why’ and facilitate a thriving post-military life.”

Patrick completed his infantry training two weeks before 9/11, which triggered the first of three Marine Corps deployments. On day twelve of the Iraq invasion, he observed the rescue operation of captured American soldier Jessica Lynch. This event truly ignited his passion for service, as it showcased a unit offering unique challenges, opportunities to help those that could not help themselves and a team of extraordinary professionals. Inspired to join the ranks of a similar unit, Patrick switched branches and after two years of training became a member of the Army Special Forces.

Following subsequent deployments, Patrick exited the military in 2009 and pursued an M.B.A. at London Business School. His two years of study was split between London, New York and Hong Kong, broadening his appreciation for the world’s diversity. While in school, and during his Wall Street internship, Patrick realized he thrived on resolving injustices—a missing component in his civilian pursuits. After graduation, he put his business aspirations on pause and returned to the Army to work in a special mission unit so he could aid the oppressed.

After years of service, Patrick has found the lure of adrenaline-fueled operations takes a distant second to the opportunity of working with incredible Americans who put others before themselves. Recognizing the struggles veterans face when they leave service, Patrick has pivoted to his most rewarding work, building a groundbreaking, 24-month program that better prepares veterans for post-military lives. Far from complete, this meaningful project is the impetus for Patrick’s pursuits at the Harvard Kennedy School, as the coursework is poised to accelerate his efforts to impact a population that deserves exceptional support.