2018 Tillman Scholar
After graduating college, Stephanie, seeking a challenge and a way to make a difference, enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Civil Affairs Specialist. She completed a deployment in Djibouti, Africa and several shorter missions in Central America, then found a love for flying when she took a ride in a helicopter during a training mission. In 2006, she completed U.S. Army Flight School at Ft. Rucker, AL and moved to the Clearwater area to be close to her MEDEVAC Reserve unit. This unit deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 and was awarded the Army Aviation Association Unit of the Year.
On the civilian side, Stephanie had been pursuing a career in commercial contract management, which brought satisfaction but not fulfillment. However, once she learned about the fascinating world of quantum physics, she decided to return to school to earn her second bachelor’s degree. During a research internship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2017, she was inspired by a professor’s research on developing environmentally friendly bricks from local factory ash waste. She immediately saw that, as the world population increases dramatically, the need for more durable building materials is a high priority for the future.
With 20 years of service, Stephanie is ready to begin the next phase of service, this time to provide a more sustainable future for urban materials, architecture, and infrastructure. She will soon complete her Bachelor’s of Science in Physics and plans to go on to earn a Ph.D. in Materials Science.