Tillman Scholars in the News

Blog, Tillman Scholars in the News | 10/07/2021

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.

LeNaya Hezel, 2021 Tillman Scholar

LeNaya Hezel will serve as a panelist for Hire Heroes USA’s webinar on careers in higher education.

LeNaya is a 2021 Stand-To Veterans Leadership Program Scholar with the Bush Institute. She is a classically trained soprano where her music background paved the way to use her voice to advocate and create DEI culture changes. Whether it is presenting to board leadership, facilitating a training seminar, or pitching an idea to potential collaborators, she uses creativity to build equitable communities. LeNaya has over a decade of experience as a higher education professional supporting underrepresented student populations.

Previous to George Mason University, she served as the inaugural Veterans Office Director at Georgetown University and a Certifying Official at The George Washington University. She holds a Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration from The George Washington University and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Lisa Rich, 2015 Tillman Scholar

Lisa Rich was recently appointed to the Colorado State Congenital Syphilis Review Board.

Seven years ago, armed with her experiences of being alone at birth and with a desire to help other military families, Lisa became a DONA trained birth doula. To better support mothers in the absence of their partner, Lisa is now pursuing her master’s degree to become a Certified Nurse Midwife through the Yale School of Nursing’s GEPN program. As a midwife, she strives to help families at their very beginnings to have safe, compassionate, and evidence-based birth options. She believes that how women are treated when they are at their most vulnerable, particularly during pregnancy and birth, can have far reaching implications into how they mother and impact future generations. Eventually, Lisa hopes to open a freestanding birth center that serves at-risk populations and to participate in international birth work.

John Keyes, 2020 Tillman Scholar

Solar Power World Online recently featured Decom Solar, cofounded by Tillman Scholar John Keyes.

John’s desire to protect the powerless led him to enlist in the U.S. Navy, where he deployed to combat zones throughout the Middle East, Arabian Peninsula and Africa in support of Operation New Dawn and Operation Enduring Freedom. In each disparate geographical location, John witnessed a similar scene: the disenfranchised being exploited by the more powerful and authoritarian agents of their region. John was inspired to see that in each and every situation the impoverished never gave up the fight against their abusers, and neither did John.

After 13 years in Naval special warfare, John hopes to incorporate what he learned overseas with best management practices and data-driven solutions, and expand his impact potential by addressing systemic inequality in large institutions. An avid sky diver, John enjoys instructing as a certified coach and Tandem Master and volunteering his time to mentor those who are contemplating a life of service.

Maryn Taylor, 2021 Tillman Scholar

The peer-reviewed journal Human Resource Development Review selected Maryn Taylor as its first-ever media editor.

Maryn earned an MBA and a master of science in human resource development, along with the SPHR, PHR, SHRM-CP and SHRM Foundation’s Veterans at Work certifications. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in human resource development with a focus on the effects of gender bias on organizational development. This research-based degree gives her the space to combine her expertise as an HR practitioner and her curiosity as a scholar to create evidence-based solutions for workplace issues. As a lifelong volunteer, Maryn has served with AmeriCorps and with local and national organizations supporting women and families. She and her husband Steve have opened their home to dozens of children experiencing crisis through the Safe Families for Children program.

Maryn provides support to the families of students attending our nation’s military academies. She mentors HR students and professionals through Dallas HR Association. Maryn takes joy in her work as the senior director of people and culture for an international women’s organization. She is a military spouse, devoted mom, voracious reader, and a proud member of the University of Texas Longhorn Alumni Band.