Tillman Scholars in the News

Blog, Tillman Scholars in the News | 05/14/2021

We’re proud of these Tillman Scholars for continuing to make an impact on their communities. Read on to see how they continue to lead through action.

Jamal Sowell, 2014 Tillman Scholar

Jamal Sowell was featured on WEDU Florida’s Suncoast Business Forum about navigating COVID-19 in business. As Florida’s Secretary of Commerce and the President and CEO of Enterprise Florida, Jamal has been tasked by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with leading the state’s economic development efforts through one of the most challenging business environments ever, a historic pandemic.

In his first year of graduate school at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, he enlisted as a private first class in the Marine Corps reserves, while simultaneously completing his Master’s degree. After graduation, he then went on active duty as an officer. Jamal found his experience in Afghanistan both life changing and humbling. Serving as an enlisted Marine, then being selected as an Officer to serve those same Marines as their leader was the most daunting responsibility he had ever accepted. The experience became a way for him to repay his country for the enormous opportunities it had provided him. His tour of duty with fellow Marines in Afghanistan helped him realize how fortunate he was and motivated him to make a difference in his home state of Florida.

Robert Ham, 2016 Tillman Scholar

Robert Ham was featured by Spectrum News 1 in Los Angeles regarding his opinion on the Afghanistan withdrawal. 

Feeling a personal calling to serve his country during a time of war, Robert’s decision to join the Army as a combat documentarian forever changed his life in the best ways possible. Robert has gone to more than a dozen countries, including a combat tour in Afghanistan, in order to tell soldiers’ stories. Robert feels the experiences and skills he’s gained in the military will help him tell truthful and human stories both about the Soldier and those we have tried to help. Robert is currently developing a feature documentary about the story of two brother interpreters he served with in Afghanistan and their harrowing journey through the war and to America.


Kevin Bubolz, 2020 Tillman Scholar

Kevin BubolzKevin Bubolz was named to Poets & Quants 2021 Best and Brightest MBAs list.

During a deployment, Kevin’s unit was accompanied by a service dog that brought comfort to soldiers, reduced loneliness and even flew in his helicopter wearing specialized hearing protection. This experience inspired Kevin to share the benefits of animal-assisted therapy to others. Upon redeployment, Kevin certified his golden retriever as a therapy dog and began volunteering in the local community. As a result of the pandemic, Kevin was no longer able to volunteer in-person with his therapy dog, Ellie, so he pivoted to social media as a way to help with others. During this process, he unexpectedly developed a global community passionate about his mission to spread smiles.