Tillman Scholars in the News

Blog, Tillman Scholars in the News | 01/22/2021

Tillman Scholars are already making waves in the new year! Read on to see how they continue to lead through action.

Zeeshan Parvez, 2018 Tillman Scholar

Zeeshan Parvez was awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation for support for Veterans in STEM. This gives Zeeshan and his team $300,000 to issue scholarships for veterans in STEM programs. This funding will also cover the costs associated with lab research over the summer, so his team can place select veterans in the research projects that most interest them. Zeeshan and his team hope to give out $10,000 scholarships per year, for two years, to approximately 10 veterans at UCLA and East Los Angeles College. In addition to being placed into labs, veterans at ELAC will now have a step up in advancing to UCLA if they chose to do so. This creates a pipeline of recruitment for veterans into an elite university, which otherwise would not have been there.

Emily Balog, 2018 Tillman Scholar

Emily Balog was a presenter at the OT Department Faculty Retreat OCC 751 Professional Issues and Trends Debate at Thomas Jefferson University Innovations in Teaching virtual retreat.

At the retreat, Emily discussed the course role in policy, ethics and advocacy and the innovation of using a debate including transitions during COVID-19 to a virtual platform.

Emily spent 6 years in the United States Air Force before earning her Ph.D. in Translational Health Sciences from George Washington University.


Ambyr Rios, 2018 Tillman Scholar

Ambyr Rios won the Best Paper Award at the Literacy Research Association Annual Conference.

See her award-winning paper, A continuum from equality to equity: Analyzing teacher candidate perceptions of the interplay between literacy and multicultural instruction.

Ambyr earned Teacher of the Year in two different school settings and held roles as a grade level administrator, supervisory program specialist, and district director of curriculum & instruction. She is now earning her Ph.D. in Texas A&M University’s Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture in 2018 while working as an associate director of online education.

William Parker, 2020 Tillman Scholar

Will ParkerWilliam Parker was featured in the George H.W. Bush Points of Light 2020 Inspiration Honor Roll, in recognition of connecting different organizations and individuals of his community to come together to improve and enlarge community gardens that serve the people of Columbus.

Will worked with organizations to lay the foundation for the gardens to provide fresh produce to members of the community that are in a food desert. Will works as a main conduit between numerous large organizations to make sure that the gardens are kept beautiful, maintained, and productive in order to serve the Columbus community as a whole.

Will is a veteran of the United States Army where he was responsible for leading a communications department through various technical and tactical installation projects, as well as two deployments to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Chris Diaz, 2013 Tillman Scholar

Chris Diaz was appointed Acting Chief of Staff, White House Liaison, Office of the Secretary by the Biden administration.

Upon his service in the United States Navy, Chris honed his entrepreneurial muscle, leading successful companies Serve1 and Performa. He is the founder and former executive director of the award-winning non-profit Action Tank, whose mission tackles the toughest challenges facing the community.

Read about Chris’s appointment here.