Tillman Scholars in the News

Blog, Tillman Scholars in the News | 02/09/2022

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.

Karen Gallagher, 2016 Tillman Scholar

Karen was announced as a finalists for the 2022 SABR Analytics Conference Research Awards, which will recognize baseball researchers who have completed the best work of original analysis or commentary during the preceding calendar year. Check out the research she co-wrote here.

For Karen, enlisting in the U.S. Army shifted her beliefs about success and failure in life. After reading about women in the military in a Sunday newspaper, a switch was flipped inside of her; a sense of uncertainty gave way to a sense of purpose. Against family expectation, she secretly sought out a local recruiter and left for basic and Airborne training shortly after her high school graduation. Today, she credits the Army with teaching her that success is a choice, and the only failure is giving up.

After her deployment to Desert Storm, she earned her Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree while caring for her disabled child, commuting an hour each way to school, and waiting tables on the weekends.  When people ask her how she did all of  that and earned entrance into the top speech-pathology program in the country, she has only one answer: “I didn’t know it wasn’t possible.”

Adrian Perkins, 2015 Tillman Scholar

Adrian was featured on the Intentional Leader podcast discussing serving his community and his mindset on success.

Growing up one of three brothers, competition was always in Adrian’s blood. After his older brother Jeff joined the Army, Adrian was inspired to attend West Point where he served as the captain of the track team and the first African-American cadet ever to be elected class president in West Point’s history. The Academy developed and nurtured Adrian’s ambition, so that he not only looked forward to becoming a Soldier, but he also began seeking ways to implement the lessons he learned into communities outside of the military.

After serving, Adrian graduated from Harvard Law School where he was elected its student body president. While a law student, he focused his scholarship on criminal justice reform and the importance of innovation in small and mid-sized cities. While in law school, he assisted Governor John Bel Edwards on criminal justice reform. He currently serves as the mayor of Shreveport, Louisiana.

Fernanda Palacios Herrera, 2021 Tillman Scholar

Fernanda was selected as a 2021-22 Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholar.

Fernanda began her community engagement working with refugees, asylees, victims of domestic violence, and survivors of human trafficking as a Department of Justice (DOJ) accredited representative at Refugee Services of Texas and later at American Gateways. During that time, she served and represented neglected indigent populations who otherwise would have no access to quality legal services. She is now pursuing her J.D. at St. Mary’s University School of Law and aspires to become an immigration attorney. While in law school, she has continued seeking opportunities to serve underrepresented communities through pro bono advocacy.

She has also worked with various organizations providing legal services to indigents, including helping asylum seeking victims of gender-based persecution during her Equal Justice Works student fellowship at The Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, and is currently providing legal services  to low-income communities in Massachusetts as a summer 2021 student attorney with The Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. Through her experiences, Fernanda has learned that dedication, passion, and drive can spark change and empower others to work alongside each other for prosperity. She will continue to use her skills to provide fervent legal representation to impoverished communities.