Tillman Scholars in the News

Blog, Tillman Scholars in the News | 11/25/2022

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.

Rio Tate, 2022 Tillman Scholar

Rio Tate was featured by University of South Florida for his work in filling the research gap in African Americans being more likely to have Alzheimer’s, but not being as likely to be involved in data analysis.

Rio’s desire to serve his community was emboldened by his time in the Air Force as an AC-130W crew chief. He earned his bachelor’s degree while on active duty at Cannon Air Force Base; After his military career, he examined cognitive aging as well as minority aging. Specifically he tries to serve his community through making research more inclusive. He pursued his degree plan because he believes science can make a positive difference in the lives of many people. He wants to be involved in that positive change.

Through research and collaboration with the community he attempts to do so by recruiting minority participants into the Preventing Alzheimer’s with Cognitive Training (PACT) study and as a Black Men’s Brain Health scholar. Long-term he hopes to examine factors such as behaviors to reduce the prevalence of dementia in either a government or academic capacity. He hopes the impact he makes on his community is in showing others that they can impact change, and that the circumstances they find themselves in today will not necessarily be the circumstances they find themselves in tomorrow.

Tim Shively, 2022 Tillman Scholar

Tim Shively was featured in an article from Virginia Tech on his pursuit of his Ph.D. in plant pathology, physiology and weed science.

Tim graduated from West Point in 2010 and was commissioned as an Infantry officer. He had the defining experience of being present for the Presidential announcement of a troop surge in Afghanistan as a cadet, then deploying in 2011 in direct support of it.  In Afghanistan, Tim helped ensure the recruitment and sustainment of local police and security forces from a remote outpost. He continued in the Army for eight years, and within days of finishing his military service, he set foot on the Appalachian Trail. His “thru-hike” of the entire 2190.9 miles from Georgia to Maine offered the opportunity to reflect on his experiences and transition into another form of service.

As a Ph.D. student in environmental science, Tim endeavors to discover new tools to manage ecosystems in the wake of human disturbance. He is indebted to those who research and sustain our natural world, making his thru-hike and countless other resources and opportunities possible. He hopes to pursue a lifetime of service in the government or non-profit land management and conservation sector. Ultimately, he aspires to give others the same benefit of a healthy environment he has always enjoyed.

Trillitye Paullin, 2014 Tillman Scholar

Trill Paullin was featured in an article from Women’s Health on using her military experience to combat infant food allergies worldwide.

Trill attributes her recent and future career success to her military service. To Trill, the military uniform is not simply working attire, but rather, it speaks to the tenacious work ethic, leadership skills, and service to others that have existed since the military’s inception. Discovering when she was fifteen that her mother was plagued with ovarian cancer was a massive hurdle for her financially limited family. As Trill helplessly watched her mother struggle through chemotherapy and surgery, she decided that she was going to dedicate her life to eliminating this horrendous epidemic.

Through training and deployments, the Army taught Trill to never give up and to believe in something bigger than herself. Mastering attention to detail allows her to design efficient experiments while her leadership experience has enabled her to become a skilled instructor and researcher.

Ryan Benally, 2022 Tillman Scholar

Ryan Benally was featured by Arizona State University News for his work with the Navajo Nation.

Never in a million years would Ryan have thought his enlistment into the U.S. Marine Corps would have taken him to the far reaches of the planet to serve his country and protect his countrymen abroad.  Ryan served with the Marine Corps for four years, which included two deployments to Iraq. Having spent nearly half his enlistment overseas on deployment, he began to appreciate the freedoms we have as Americans and unwavering support of his family and friends. Mission after mission eventually turned into tense combat situations with his fellow Marines.

These events taught him how effective training could turn the tide in your favor with prudent planning and instruction. Values could be learned and taught.  Upon exiting active duty service, he worked to obtain his bachelor’s degree in financial management. Yet, the act of service to the community never left Ryan. He volunteered his time and experience to help build up his home community on the Navajo Nation. Lack of basic services and infrastructure in his community led Ryan to continue his education in a master’s program in the field of construction management and technology at Arizona State University. Ryan intends to use his education to help build a better community back home.