2020 Tillman Scholar
Safiullah Rauf was born in 1994 in an Afghan refugee camp in Pakistan. After immigrating to the United States as a teenager and graduating high school in Omaha, Nebraska, he deployed to Afghanistan for four years as a linguist and cultural advisor embedded with Special Operations, supporting both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. In Afghanistan, Safi performed translation and interpretation on a wide range of media, advised U.S. military personnel and coordinated with Afghan security forces, coalition partners and U.S. federal government departments—including U.S. Embassy Kabul—to mitigate high-profile threats.
In 2016, Safi moved to Virginia to attend college and enlist in the U.S. Navy Reserves as a corpsman. Safi is currently assigned to the Expeditionary Medical Facility Bethesda’s Naval Reserve unit, where he performs duties as a medical assistant to physicians and supports in the medical readiness of 80 patients per month for more than 2,800 reservists. In April 2020, Safi mobilized to New York City to staff the military’s makeshift hospital at the Javits Center.
Concurrently, Safi is a pre-medical student at Georgetown University, studying human science and is the president of the Georgetown University Student Veterans Association. Safi works as a research assistant for an ongoing clinical trial through Georgetown University Medical Center’s Department of Family Medicine. Upon graduating in 2021, Safi aspires to attend medical school, continue his military service and ultimately become a surgeon. Safi seeks to provide healthcare services to disadvantaged communities, ensuring everyone, regardless of their background, has access to affordable, quality healthcare. Safi is fluent in Farsi, Dari, Pashto and Urdu.