2017 Tillman Scholar

Stephen Carl

Baylor University

“I want to be a leader who cultivates selfless sacrifice within my community to end the orphan care crisis.”

Stephen commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army to give back to the nation that had given him so much. He was selected to attend flight school and soon became a MEDEVAC helicopter pilot. In Afghanistan, Stephen and his aircrew flew dozens of urgent MEDEVAC missions and saved countless lives.

Upon returning from combat, Stephen had a life-changing experience when he and his wife became foster parents and firsthand witnesses of the orphan care crisis. He saw countless children who were victimized by circumstances they could not control, and then re-victimized by a community that would not come to their aid – there were too many foster kids without a place to call home. Stephen saw parallels to his experience on the battlefield. As an Army Officer, he and his fellow Soldiers embraced a commitment towards one another that lead them to sacrifice their safety and comfort for a fallen comrade, no matter the cost. Stephen wondered why his local community couldn’t do the same for abused children.

After eight years of honorable service, Stephen was discharged from the Army and is attending Baylor Law School to gain the skills necessary to become a passionate advocate for these children. Stephen envisions a community of committed individuals who embrace a sense of belonging and obligation to the most vulnerable among them – a community that can end the orphan care crisis. He hopes to devote the rest of his life to serving as a lawyer and leader to that end.