2016 Tillman Scholar

Seth Kastle

Baker University
Baker University Ed.D, Higher Education

People are stuck being passengers in life. I refuse to accept that I don’t have a hand in my destiny.

As a young man, Seth spent most of his time making poor decision after poor decision.  In high school, the voice of his mother – “college or the military” – pushed him to meet with the first Army recruiter that came to his school. In 1998, halfway through his senior year, Seth enlisted in the Army – not realizing at the time that it would be one of the most impactful decisions of his life.

After returning home from his second deployment in 2004, Seth struggled greatly and admits he was in denial for several years that the problems he was facing were related to PTSD.  Finally, in 2011, he sought help for himself and his family, realizing he had to make a change or lose everything. His personal struggles, both as a veteran and parent to daughters who only knew a “post-war” father, led him to write the children’s book Why Is Dad So Mad? A Book About PTSD And Military Families.  The book – which explains PTSD to children – has made its way into a great deal of military family households. Though he retired in 2014, this sense of service above self was without question the most important lesson that Seth took from his military career. The Army taught him to follow his passion and that in doing this there are no limits to what can be accomplished.

Now, as a faculty member in the Department of Leadership Studies at Fort Hays State University, he has had the opportunity to pass along his passion for civic engagement through both academic discipline and classroom interaction. As he pursues his Ed.D. in Leadership in Higher Education from Baker University, he is focusing his teaching as much as possible on service learning activities; he strives to create a citizenry educated in the importance of civic engagement. After completing his doctorate, Seth plans to pursue appointment on the Veterans Claims Assistance Program (VCAP) Advisory Board through the Kansas Commission of Veterans Affairs. Through this office, he wants to have higher levels of influence regarding policy and benefits for Kansas’ veterans.