Tillman Scholars in the News

Blog, Tillman Scholars in the News | 11/18/2022

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.

Jamal Sowell, 2014 Tillman Scholar

Jamal Sowell was named as one of Team Red, White and Blue’s newest board members.

Knowing his family’s legacy of service, he knew his time would eventually come to answer the call to serve. In his first year of graduate school at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, he enlisted as a private first class in the Marine Corps reserves, while simultaneously completing his Master’s degree and working at Amherst College. After graduation, he then went on active duty as an officer.

Jamal found his experience in Afghanistan both life changing and humbling. Serving as an enlisted Marine, then being selected as an officer to serve those same Marines as their leader was the most daunting responsibility he had ever accepted. The experience became a way for him to repay his country for the enormous opportunities it had provided him. His tour of duty with fellow Marines in Afghanistan helped him realize how fortunate he was and motivated him to make a difference in his home state of Florida.

April Krowel, 2013 Tillman Scholar

April Krowell contributed to the article Experts Explain Football Players’ Scary ‘Fencing Response’ After Big Hits, which was feature in Men’s Health.

After returning from Iraq as part of OIF, April struggled to navigate life as a civilian. She felt like no one understood what she had experienced and ultimately felt like an outcast among family and friends. Numerous military friends also struggled with reintegration; a couple decided to end their lives. The loss of friends in combat was somewhat expected but losing friends to suicide had a profound effect on her, and she made the decision to become a psychologist to help returning service members and veterans.

April is passionate about her chosen career as a neuropsychologist and enjoys being a leader in this community. She specializes in the neuropsychological and psychological assessment of adults and older adults with a wide variety of neurological disorders, medical diagnoses, and psychiatric conditions. She offers supportive consultation to caregivers interested in learning ways to manage and improve the wellbeing of family members with neuro-cognitive deficits, as well as ways to manage their own stress.

Ethan Rocke, 2013 Tillman Scholar

Ethan Rocke’s article on psychedelic treatments for Veterans healing from PTSD was published in Task and Purpose.

Ethan’s career as a “storyteller of Marines” culminated with his final three-year assignment as Public Affairs Chief at the Marine Corps Motion Picture and Television Liaison Office in Los Angeles, where he served as a consultant on dozens of television shows and documentaries and several feature films from 2008 to 2011. 

After being honorably discharged from the Marines in October 2011, Ethan completed a B.S. in Photojournalism from Syracuse University and an M.S. in Multimedia Journalism from the University of Oregon. His work has been published in the New York Times online, USA Today, Business Insider, American Legion Magazine, Upworthy and many others. He is a contributing writer for Maxim Magazine and co-author of The Last Punisher: A SEAL Team THREE Sniper’s True Account of the Battle of Ramadi. 

As the owner and lead storyteller of Ethan Rocke Media, Ethan is driven by the philosophy that stories teach us how to live and that his life’s purpose is to harness the power of story to further illuminate the human condition. 

Kimberly Jung, 2014 Tillman Scholar

Kimberly Jung will be speaking at the Northwestern Mutual Women in Tech Conference on Dec. 1, 2022: 10:35 – 11:20 AM CST for a session on The Journey: Building and Investing in Startups.

After her first year at Harvard Business School, Kim decided to start a business importing saffron directly from Afghan farmers. She bought a ticket to Afghanistan and met with Pashto farmers from Ghuryan and Wardak, where she had served as Route Clearance Platoon 44’s platoon leader four years before. These farmers were growing some of the best saffron in the world, unbeknownst to Western consumers.

The company that Kim subsequently founded, Rumi Spice, now imports saffron directly from Afghan farmers, giving those farmers access to markets and an alternative to growing opium. Four Michelin-starred restaurants exclusively and proudly carry Rumi Spice saffron, and it was featured in six dishes at the James Beard Persian New Year Dinner. Most importantly, Rumi Spice is laying a foundation for peace through economic empowerment: the company established its first processing facility in Herat, Afghanistan, and hired 75 Afghan women, who are paid direct wages. Rumi Spice makes up 5% of Afghanistan’s total saffron production and 3.6% of Afghanistan’s total agricultural foreign direct investment.