Tillman Scholars in the News

Blog | 07/08/2022

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.

Jennifer Esparza, 2018 Tillman Scholar

Jennifer EsparzaJennifer Esparza has started a new position as the White House Liason at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

While applying to law school, the country and Corps heard news of the “Marines United” scandal. In response, she and three other women veterans formed a coalition to support victims and advocate for the betterment of women still serving in the Marine Corps. The organization continues to thrive and serves in a capacity to assist in accountability.

The former Staff Sergeant has turned difficult moments into fuel for positive change. She found expanded ways to continue her service, eager to give voice to those also in need of advocates. This goal was fortified while interning with the defense team for a Guantanamo detainee. In earning her law degree, she plans to continue defending human rights and working to serve justly those facing capital punishment, while still defending the Constitution with honor, courage and commitment.

Kim Shaughnessy-Granger, 2017 Tillman Scholar

Kim Shaughnessy-Granger was appointed as one of four new members to the Alumni Board of Directors at Villanova University.

In 2011, while she was stationed in Okinawa, the Great East Japan Earthquake unleashed a savage tsunami. A thousand miles south of the epicenter, Kim’s mettle was tested as she and her team successfully managed 100 pregnant evacuees and family members; coordinating their care, delivering their babies, and facilitating their return to the United States. “There was so much devastation, sadness, and fear,” said Kim. “Being able to ease the burden and anxiety for these military families who experienced this tragedy was one of the proudest moments of my career.”

Still on active duty, Kim is pursuing her Doctor of Nursing Practice, planning to utilize this, along with her expertise in women’s health, to effect change in women’s health policy in order to improve services and reduce disparities across the military, and through partnerships with the Veterans’ Administration.

Matt Miclette, 2016 Tillman Scholar

Matt Miclette was announced as a member of the Bush Institute’s 2022 Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program Class.

While serving at WRAMC and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Matt often received patients within five days of their initial injuries, most from Afghanistan, and witnessed up close the tragedy of war. Of the five quadruple amputee patients injured during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, three have been his patients. As debilitating as the physical injuries were, Matt learned it was the invisible injuries that were often most overlooked and particularly challenging for those in his care.

In 2013, he began the next phase of his career as a behavioral health nurse, working with patients suffering from PTSD. Now, with his Master of Public Health (MPH) and Master of Science in Social Policy (MSSP), Matt is leading clinical initiatives at NeuroFlow working with organizations such as Stop Soldier Suicide, Wounded Warrior Project, US Naval Academy, and US Air Force. Matt is also leading the implementing the evidence-based integrated behavioral health models, such as psychiatric collaborative care, into major health systems across the country.

Safi Rauf, 2020 Tillman Scholar

Safi Rauf presented a TedTalk on his time in a Taliban prison

In 2016, Safi moved to Virginia to attend college and enlist in the U.S. Navy Reserves as a corpsman. Safi is currently assigned to the Expeditionary Medical Facility Bethesda’s Naval Reserve unit, where he performs duties as a medical assistant to physicians and supports in the medical readiness of 80 patients per month for more than 2,800 reservists. In April 2020, Safi mobilized to New York City to staff the military’s makeshift hospital at the Javits Center.

Concurrently, Safi is a pre-medical student at Georgetown University, studying human science and is the president of the Georgetown University Student Veterans Association. Safi works as a research assistant for an ongoing clinical trial through Georgetown University Medical Center’s Department of Family Medicine. Upon graduating in 2021, Safi aspires to attend medical school, continue his military service and ultimately become a surgeon. Safi seeks to provide healthcare services to disadvantaged communities, ensuring everyone, regardless of their background, has access to affordable, quality healthcare. Safi is fluent in Farsi, Dari, Pashto and Urdu.