Welcome back to the 2021 Tillman Scholars Spotlight! Each week, we highlight a few of the remarkable veterans and military spouses from our 2021 scholar class! These 60 individuals continue to embrace service beyond self in a variety of fields, from diversity and inclusion to medical breakthroughs, to make an impact and create a better tomorrow.
Our next group of scholars focus on science. With the values of Pat Tillman instilled in them and through leadership development, scholarships, and the support of a global community, they’re furthering their capabilities to become leaders in their individual impact areas.
Kevin is working to integrate meteorology, vegetation dynamics, fire danger, and community awareness. He is researching how our changing climate affects wildfire behavior, while also volunteering as the treasurer of the Santa Barbara FireSafe Council. By combining integrated research and community resilience activism, Kevin hopes to figure out how people can safely live in the fire-prone environments that they currently inhabit.
In 2019, Katie began their new journey at Northwestern University while volunteering for LGBTQ+ organizations in the Chicago area. Passionate about giving back to the community that has given them so much, Katie now dedicates their time to eliminating healthcare disparities experienced by LGBTQ+ people through research, service, and advocacy. Upon graduation, Katie aims to attend medical school. As a future physician, they are committed to drawing from lessons learned in the military to catalyze change by being a custodian for more trans nonbinary (TNB) voices in healthcare, serving as representation for TNB patients, and providing culturally competent care to their community.
Alonso promotes health among youth as the coach and president of a non-profit youth soccer club. He relates to the players because they express similar concerns and obstacles that he encountered as an adolescent, oldest child in their families, or as a child of immigrants. Through these avenues, Alonso will continue promoting hope and confidence within his community. With his research, he will strive to enhance therapeutic outcomes for patients by investigating cell and biomaterial interfaces as a Ph.D. student in the UC Berkeley-UCSF Graduate Program in Bioengineering.
Tara is a doctoral student at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where she helps lead a diverse group of transdisciplinary researchers in understanding communication skills after mild traumatic brain injury. Upon completing her neuroscience Ph.D., she will continue her life-long pursuit of helping individuals, like her brother, that struggle with communication to tell their stories through participation in her language research at one of her future transdisciplinary research clinics.
After his discharge, he enrolled at Louisiana State University, pursuing a degree in biology. After graduation, he began working at various environmental agencies, accruing skills to become a biologist. Almost 20 years after enlisting, Rikeem enrolled in a Ph.D. program at Washington State University, hoping to become the first person in his family to obtain a doctorate. He strives to advance the global pool of knowledge in his scientific discipline while also making sure that science is made accessible for all people.
Jake is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in genetics at the University of Iowa, where he studies how cancer evolves to evade targeted chemotherapies. He employs unique technologies to answer critical questions, collaborating and adapting to better engage cancer and improve patient outcomes. Through the development of an integrated network of scientists, clinicians, and legislators, Jake is committed to altering the cancer research landscape.