Tillman Scholars in the News

Blog, Tillman Scholars in the News | 09/17/2021

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.

Cassie Bronson, 2020 Tillman Scholar

Cassie BronsonCassie Bronson was recently selected as the Graduate Nursing Student Academy Advocacy Leader for the state of Montana.

A need to serve others is a constant for Cassie and the specific urge to serve her country was never stronger than when less than four months after graduating high school, 9/11 occurred. Cassie attended college to earn a bachelor’s of science in nursing and, upon its completion in 2005, immediately commissioned into the U.S. Navy to serve in the nurse corps.

Shortly after leaving the Navy and recently married to another servicemember, Cassie was diagnosed with cancer and needed immediate treatment to not only save her life, but to also save any hope of having children in the future. This struggle as a woman, a wife and a future mother illuminated how her clinical nursing skills could be used to help women undergoing similar scenarios. Ten years after leaving the Navy and 15 years as a nurse, Cassie is now pursuing her doctorate in women’s health nursing and using her personal experiences to support and treat women in the community under the philosophy of cura personalis, or care for the whole person.

Adam Swartzbaugh, 2019 Tillman Scholar

Adam Swartzbaugh recently spoke at MIT delta v 2021, discussing his cofounded company, Almond Finance.

While completing college and Army ROTC, Adam started an NGO to build schools and create alternatives for vulnerable communities with historically high trafficking rates along the Myanmar-Thailand border. Adam then commissioned into the Infantry as a Reconnaissance and Sniper Platoon Leader in Europe and the Middle East. A few years later, he joined the Special Forces and was stationed in Japan. Adam’s work focusing on terrorist and extremist networks in the Pacific fostered the skills he needed beyond the military to better counter transnational criminal organizations fueling child trafficking and slave labor in the region.

Having recently left active duty, Adam is continuing to develop his NGO which has now built several schools, degraded trafficking networks and rescued children across Southeast Asia. Looking to better address the root causes of transnational crime fueled by regional instability, Adam is pursuing a joint degree program at MIT and Harvard to facilitate collaborative economic development initiatives designed to reduce exploitation and create lasting opportunities for communities in Southeast Asia.

Meaghan Mobbs, 2013 Tillman Scholar

Meaghan Mobbs discusses the Biden Administration’s decision to ask for resignations from military academy boards, speaking on the importance of bipartisan representation.

Believing in the absolute importance of serving our country, Meaghan attended and graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point in 2008. Commissioned as a Quartermaster officer, Meaghan dedicated herself to professional excellence in the field graduating as the Distinguished Honor Graduate from the Quartermaster Basic Officer Leader Course and the Aerial Delivery Maintenance Officer Course.

Upon returning from Afghanistan, Meaghan developed a keen interest in the military’s reintegration and transition programs with regard to mental health. This interest was farther honed during her own separation from active service. Realizing that a background in psychology was necessary, Meaghan left active duty and immediately attended the George Washington University where she received her Master’s in Forensic Psychology. Meaghan also received her clinical psychology doctorate at Teachers College, Columbia University where she was awarded the David O’Connor Fellowship to research issues specific to Veterans and their family members.

Thomas Bishop, 2011 Tillman Scholar; Shelane Etchison, 2020 Tillman Scholar

Shelane Etchison
Thomas Bishop and Shelane Etchison participated in a forum for the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics. You can watch the full discussion here.

As a combat Platoon Leader of a route clearance platoon, Thomas managed soldiers, vehicles, and over 15 million dollars of equipment. Thomas was tasked to find, clear, and facilitate the reduction of improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan. Moving up the ranks, Thomas held roles as company commander and operations before pursuing further education as an MC/MPA candidate at Harvard University in 2021.

Motivated to continue serving in U.S. Special Operations Forces, Shelane applied for a highly-competitive special missions unit. Shelane successfully completed this unit’s multi-year selection and training process, and subsequently deployed to Syria, Turkey and Europe. During her time in Syria working with the Kurdish female fighters combating the Islamic State, Shelane was inspired to leave the Army and pursue opportunities to help stabilize the region via economic development. She is currently a student at Harvard Business School and Kennedy School to build a base of knowledge and coalition of support for her endeavors to bring economic opportunity to conflict zones.