2024 Tillman Scholar

Xin Yi Tan

Columbia University
MA, International Affairs

“After serving as a ground troop in multiple real-world missions, I am better equipped to identify micro-level distinctions when considering the impact and implementation of policies.”

Upon graduation from UC Santa Barbara with a B.S. in Geology, Xin enlisted as a GEOINT analyst in the Army to better grapple with the nuances of geopolitics. Her terrain analysis greatly contributed to logistical and sustainment operations across the European theater. Some of these operations include Defender Europe 2021-23, Operation Allies Refuge, and the Russia-Ukraine War. 

After witnessing firsthand how cruel warfare is while working in the military intelligence space and on humanitarian missions, Xin  felt compelled to pursue macro-level work to ensure micro-level work is avoided from the start. She realized environmentalism and international affairs share a causative and consequential interdependence. 

Fueled by righteous indignation, Xin left active-duty service to pursue a Master’s in International Affairs at Columbia University. With a policy concentration in Energy and Environment, she will delve into the intersection of geopolitics and environmental sustainability. Upon degree completion, Xin hopes to continue her commitment to public service by serving as a policy analyst for the State Department or an international organization. She recognizes the immense privilege she now has as a naturalized citizen to pursue a career in shaping global policies for a hegemonic world power. Xin aims to drive equitable reforms for underserved communities in the US and abroad.