2014 Tillman Scholar

Trillitye Paullin

University of South Florida
Ph.D., Biology

“There is a long history of abuse in my family and I felt I needed something to break the cycle.”

Trill attributes her recent and future career success to her military service. To Trill, the military uniform is not simply working attire, but rather, it speaks to the tenacious work ethic, leadership skills, and service to others that have existed since the military’s inception.

Discovering when she was fifteen that her mother was plagued with ovarian cancer was a massive hurdle for her financially limited family. As Trill helplessly watched her mother struggle through chemotherapy and surgery, she decided that she was going to dedicate her life to eliminating this horrendous epidemic. Today, Trill is pursuing a career in cancer research by earning her Ph.D. in Cellular, Molecular, and Microbiology at the University of South Florida. Trill specializes in ovarian cancer and has the privilege of working with a team to research and implement innovative techniques to eradicate cancer.

At times, research can be quite frustrating. Much like deployed military units, scientists must have the dedication and resiliency to endure frequent disappointments and schedule changes. It is imperative that researchers are willing to fail forward to success with unwavering determination to achieve an uncertain goal. Through training and deployments, the Army taught Trill to never give up and to believe in something bigger than herself. Mastering attention to detail allows her to design efficient experiments while her leadership experience has enabled her to become a skilled instructor at USF. Ultimately, Trill’s education will position her to make a tangible difference in the lives of cancer patients.