In conjunction with our 60 Days of Scholars feature, we are taking a look at the different impact areas of our remarkable 2022 class of Tillman Scholars. Our scholar community has found their passions leading them to diverse fields of studies all with the same goal in mind, unite others and advance ideas that change the world. From business and STEM to education and public service, each week we will be highlighting our brand new scholars and how they plan to make their impact.
Our scholars whose impact area falls under the STEM umbrella are making impacts in science, technology, engineering, or math. Check out what these 2022 scholars are doing in STEM below.
In pursuit of this goal, alongside the desire to follow in his family’s tradition of service to country, he joined the U.S. Navy. His naval service comprised the administration and security of classified and unclassified information networks throughout the Pacific. His time in the U.S. Navy molded him personally and professionally, developing unique skills that would contribute to his academic pursuits. More importantly though, his working alongside individuals of various backgrounds, ideologies, and cultures emphasized the importance of collaborating with a diverse global community when seeking to effect change. Despite a rewarding military career, his eagerness to conduct marine research and become an educator persisted, leading to his departure from military service and completion of his B.S. in Marine Biology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. James is now pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where his research efforts focus on ecosystem restoration and climate change mitigation.
Elisa’s service was highlighted by flying low-level airdrop missions in the mountains of Afghanistan and later, leading formations over the jungles of western Africa and the endless glaciers of Alaska. Elisa then became a civilian instructor of geoscience and meteorology at the U.S. Air Force Academy, taking breaks to deploy as a Reserve pilot. There, she focused on strengthening cadet research skills and influencing women to become military pilots. Off-duty, she invested her time in civilian aviation to instruct underprivileged high school students in several non-profit organizations over the next decade. She now listens to Antarctic ice tremors as a doctoral student, analyzing ambient seismic noise to evaluate the mechanisms which fracture the Ross Ice Shelf as it faces detachment from land. Elisa aims to distill her research into relatable material for the public to engage with, empowering people to share the science of our rapidly changing planet. She also seeks to amplify the voices of people who are directly affected by our current natural resource challenges.
As a cadet, Catherine suffered several minor injuries from the rigors of collegiate athletics and military training and found improvements as a patient in physical therapy. Following her commissioning she served the maritime community as a Marine Safety Engineer, protecting the commercial maritime industry through safety and security inspections as well as policy development for improved systems and cyber risk management best practices. Soon, her knowledge of engineering systems will be put to use in a different field: rehabilitation science. Through her combined experiences as a patient in P.T. and as an engineering graduate student, she realized her passion for studying the human body as a mechanical system: the most well-designed machine in existence. She hopes to never lose sight of her passion for serving others, and for this reason chose to pursue the unique Dual Doctor of Physical Therapy and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering focusing in neural and orthopedic rehabilitation engineering. Her Ph.D. research will include developing new rehabilitation techniques for common surgeries and impact related injuries as well as innovations in prosthetics. Through her education and career in research and clinical practice, she will continue serving others by improving motor control and function in patients overcoming orthopedic and neural injuries.
Driven by an extreme curiosity Casey joined the military to learn more about the world and the people who live in it. As a meteorologist in the Navy he developed a keen interest in the environment and the role it plays in influencing people’s actions. This, along with his obsession of the natural world ultimately led Casey to attending the University of Tennessee after his second enlistment to pursue a career in Ecology. As a Ph.D. student at the University of Chicago Casey hopes to do meaningful research that defines the role ecological processes have on human dynamics using the latest advancements in Genetics and Genomics research. Once he completes his Ph.D. he plans to apply these skills doing governmental research with the hopes of increasing the productivity of ecosystems for the benefit of humans and other species alike.
In Afghanistan, Tim helped ensure the recruitment and sustainment of local police and security forces from a remote outpost. He continued in the Army for eight years, and within days of finishing his military service, he set foot on the Appalachian Trail. His “thru-hike” of the entire 2190.9 miles from Georgia to Maine offered the opportunity to reflect on his experiences and transition into another form of service. As a Ph.D. student in environmental science, Tim endeavors to discover new tools to manage ecosystems in the wake of human disturbance. He is indebted to those who research and sustain our natural world, making his thru-hike and countless other resources and opportunities possible. He hopes to pursue a lifetime of service in the government or non-profit land management and conservation sector. Ultimately, he aspires to give others the same benefit of a healthy environment he has always enjoyed.
Gabriella Tyler is pursuing her dream to contribute to ongoing efforts to increase diversity and inclusion within the academic realm. Gabriella is currently a graduate student at the University of Notre Dame where is investigating the biological relationship between blunt force traumatic brain injuries and the increased occurrence of Parkinson’s Disease. She recognizes that service members are at an increased risk of sustaining such injuries and she hopes that her research will lead to disease treatment rather than symptom management. Gabriella is pursuing a doctorate in biological sciences after witnessing the impact that service derived injuries can have to service members and their loved ones. Gabriella hopes to make a difference in the lives of her current and future students by drawing from her own adverse life circumstances coupled with inclusive teaching skills. Her life was significantly bettered by caring and compassionate educators so she strives to become one herself. Gabriella hopes to become a principal investigator whose lab environment fosters student’s creativity from all walks of life and backgrounds.
Throughout her military service, Brandi gained the confidence and mental strength to take lead in her own life and follow her ambitions. During a deployment in 2010, Brandi realized that most of the Army’s gear has great room for improvement. She decided to find a solution to these problems. As only 15% of engineers are women, Brandi has devoted much effort to promoting women in STEM. She is the president of the graduate chapter of Society of Women Engineers at OSU, overseeing programs such as career development courses and networking events. She has been accepted for her third year as a ‘Military Community Advocate’ for women at OSU. In this role, she strives to create a safe and accepting environment for military-affiliated women to flourish. In the future, Brandi hopes to move towards entrepreneurship by creating a business focused on creating military electronic devices utilizing the most advanced research. She hopes to create a well-rounded professional atmosphere with employees of all backgrounds, especially women and veterans.