2024 Tillman Scholar

Robert Kugler

Marine Corps
Academy of Art University
MFA, Photography

“Naturally, we all start out with narrow perspectives, widened by life experience. As a photographer/storyteller, it’s my mission to capture and share experiences that can widen our collective perspective.”

Rob Kugler is a Retired Marine SSgt, author/photographer and advocate for veteran and canine causes. He has harnessed the loss of his older brother Mike, killed in action in Iraq, 2007, and his sister Charity, killed in a car accident in 2014, to continually grow his perspective and share what he’s learned with others. Rob has learned to share these discoveries through writing and photography. In 2020, he published a book titled “A Dog Named Beautiful,” which tells the story of his travels across the country with his dying chocolate lab, his struggles with loss, and the supportive people he met along the way. 

Rob has been a volunteer leader in organizations such as Team Rubicon and TeamRWB and is now focusing on the Michael B. Doheny and Team Bella Foundations, which he founded in honor of his brother and his dog, Bella. Rob is pursuing a graduate degree in photography from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. He aim to learn from expert mentors and build confidence and understanding of the craft to not only capture the best images, but also how to turn his passion of bringing people together through visual storytelling into a lifelong career. 

Thriving in new experiences, photography allows Rob a lifetime of evolving missions. From capturing farewell photos of humans and their beloved animals, to beautiful landscapes, to documenting varying alternative PTSD treatments, there are no limits to the stories that can be told. As a Tillman Scholar, Rob encourages other veterans to fight to fulfill their passions as they seek to lead and serve others.