Tillman Scholars in the News

Blog, Tillman Scholars in the News | 05/28/2021

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.

Tara Heidger, 2017 Tillman Scholar

Tara Heidger wrote an article for Modern War Institute titled “In Africa, Great Power Competition Requires a Great Strategy for Information Operations.”

During her nine years on active duty, she deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and worked in military intelligence and communications. Tara recently graduated from Columbia University with a dual Masters of International Relations and Urban Planning where she studied the intersection of cities and conflict. Tara currently works for an international advertising and communications firm and enjoys writing and pitching freelance stories to media outlets around the world. She lives outside of New York City with her veteran husband and three daughters.


Jeremy Van Tress has announced his candidacy for Congress in his home state of Oregon.
After serving honorably for six years in a special operations unit and the U.S. Army, Jeremy separated from active military service to become a physician and provide medical care to vulnerable populations. During his first semester of medical school, he experienced unexplained neurological symptoms later diagnosed as Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS, a rare progressive neurodegenerative disease caused by his military service. Jeremy became the first person since Stephen Hawking to earn a Ph.D. after being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

2020 Make Your Mark Awardee Jackie MunnJackie Munn published an essay for The Atlantic on her experiences with sexism in the Army, “I Felt More Welcome in Combat Than I Did on Base.”

Jackie is a West Point graduate, former Army captain and military spouse turned writer and nurse practitioner working for the Arlington County, Va., public health department. As a public health nurse practitioner, Jackie helps her county’s efforts by caring for low-income and non-insured patients at her public health department and managing the healthcare records for Arlington County’s first responders and public safety officers. Once the pandemic hit, she also helped her county’s efforts to stymie the spread of the coronavirus, balancing her professional responsibilities with managing remote learning for her son while her husband, a former Green Beret, was away for work.


Dr. Maggie Smith, 2011 Tillman Scholar

Dr. Maggie Smith wrote a piece for War on the Rocks titled “More Than a Buzzword: Diversity Can Help Defeat Disinformation” about the meaning of diversity in the United States.

Maggie originally enlisted in the Army in 2004 to complete her undergraduate education but serving quickly became a passion and turned into a career. She is a trained senior watch officer, cyberspace operations planner and offensive cyberspace operations mission commander. Maggie is also a volunteer and advocate for previvors – women and men who inherit the BRCA 1 or 2 genetic mutation putting them at extremely high risk for developing breast, ovarian, or prostate cancer during their lifetimes. Sharing her personal experiences with preventive surgery, as a result of being BRCA 2 positive, with others facing a similar choice is a huge part of her life and personal healing process.