Tillman Scholars in the News

Blog, Tillman Scholars in the News | 10/21/2021

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.

Phillip Jones, 2020 Tillman Scholar

Phillip Jones shared his experience as a veteran, what attracted him to Harvard Business School, and his path to becoming a joint degree student in a vlog on HBS.

Returning home from his deployments, Phillip witnessed a widening economic disparity between his hometown and the rest of Virginia. He believes that the importance of local city governance cannot be understated and that critical economic issues must first be solved at the municipal level.

Phillip is currently pursuing a joint degree between the Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School to facilitate his transition to a civilian leader with the ability to speak to private and public sector issues, as well as the marriage of the two. He remains a native son of Virginia who wants to play a part in constructing policies that will help to uplift the downtrodden.

Russell Ledet, 2021 Tillman Scholar

Russell LedetRussell Ledet was recently awarded the 2021 Southern Medical Association Research & Education Endowment Fund Medical Student Scholarship

After five years of active duty service, Ledet transitioned to the U.S.N Reserves, based in Pensacola, Florida, while also attending Southern University. He also worked as a security guard at Baton Rouge General Hospital. He went on to complete degrees in chemistry and biology. Subsequently, Ledet went on to obtain his Ph.D. in molecular oncology and tumor immunology from the NYU School of Medicine. His scientific work focused on protein modifications in prostate cancer progression. His thesis work was most recently published in Nature Communications.

After NYU, he began his medical training journey at Tulane School of Medicine and Freeman School of Business. Since starting medical school, Ledet has co-founded The 15 White Coats, a world-renowned organization that helps to propel underrepresented minority students into medicine. Most recently, he was able to return to Baton Rouge General Hospital to train, and his journey to do so was covered by People, NPR, the Washington Post, The Steve Harvey Show, Good Morning America, and others. Following medical school, he plans to specialize in child and adolescent psychiatry, with a focus on mental health accessibility for marginalized communities.

Eric Chastain, 2019 Tillman Scholar

Eric Chastain was the keynote speaker for the 2021 Washington State NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Conference.  NAMI Chapters from across the state of Washington attended. Eric shared perspectives on community and inclusion from a veteran and native perspective.

Growing up with limited resources in a community adversely affected by an aggressive criminal justice system, Eric witnessed the positive impact of community support and the negative consequence of a broken family. At a young age, he decided to dedicate his life to community improvement, reinforcing families and reducing over-incarceration for nonviolent crimes. Serving in the Army taught him individual discipline and the power of a collective team. Transforming citizens into soldiers, enduring ranger school and nearly three years of combat operations in Iraq galvanized his core belief that dedicated professionals united in purpose enable sweeping reform.

He applied this mantra in his local community as well by serving on local government advisory boards, volunteering with the veterans’ treatment court, leading social support groups for at risk youth and providing transition counseling in the county correctional system strengthening his resolve to rebuild community and reduce the criminal justice system’s impact on families.