2013 Tillman Scholar

Richard Mendez

University of South Florida

During his first year of college, Richard realized that he felt compelled to pursue a calling beyond the classroom. One year later, he found himself on the front lines of the war in Iraq. As he witnessed countless fellow soldiers and civilians receive vital medical care, he discovered another passion: medicine. Assisting with casualty response on the battlefield ultimately led to his decision to leave the Army and pursue a medical doctorate. Transitioning from the battlefield to the classroom proved to be an arduous task, both academically and mentally. After losing men that he served with, he wrestled with the emotional burden of leaving the military to pursue a medical career. It is these emotions that continue to fuel his journey through medical school.  

Richard has strengthened his interest in Emergency Medicine and prehospital care through his medical education. He plans to apply these medical skills on the front lines, continuing his commitment to service. He will challenge himself to achieve his goal of becoming a compassionate and caring physician within the Veterans Health Administration. By combining his passions for the military and medicine, he will be able to help his fellow soldiers whose lives, like his, have forever been changed by answering a call to duty.