Tillman Scholars in the News

Blog, Tillman Scholars in the News | 01/20/2023

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.

HyeJung Park, 2020 Tillman Scholar

AZ Family interviewed HyeJung Park, discussing the opening of Pat’s Run registration as well has her experiences in the military and the impact of her Tillman Scholarship.

As a beneficiary of the California Dream Act and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, HyeJung has first-hand experience of the value of American democracy and the impact of American voters who exercise their right to promote equality, equity and justice. These experiences inspired her to pursue both military service and academic research to contribute to our community’s promotion of equitable opportunities for the next generation of young people.

Through her doctoral studies in developmental psychology, she examines promotive and protective factors that buffer life stressors while fostering growth among marginalized youth (e.g., adolescents residing in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty, crime and other disadvantages, racial and ethnic minority youth).

HyeJung strongly believes in the power of community action. She aspires to be a collaborator/developer of empirically-supported legislation to promote resilient development for at-risk and marginalized youth. She hopes to be an effective liaison between the developmental research community and Congress, to inform public policy development, implementation and evaluation.

Adrian Perkins, 2015 Tillman Scholar

Adrian Perkins has been selected as a Pritzker Fellow at the University of Chicago.

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. Adrian was elected the 56th mayor of Shreveport, LA in 2018 and served through 2022.

Robert Ham, 2016 Tillman Scholar

Robert Ham won a New York Emmy for his project, Songs Of Service. He has also created a documentary about his wife’s story, Made With Melanie. Robert is excited for his newest project, Interpreters Wanted, to be completed soon.

Growing up in Los Angeles as the son of musician and artists, Robert always aspired to be a film director. With 9/11 impacting him, Robert decided to finish college first and pursue the military later. Upon graduation, Robert was distracted by Hollywood, becoming disillusioned and really thinking deeply about who it was that he wanted to be. Feeling a personal calling to serve his country during a time of war, Robert’s decision to join the Army as a combat documentarian forever changed his life in the best ways possible. Robert has gone to more than a dozen countries, including a combat tour in Afghanistan, in order to tell soldiers’ stories. He’s witnessed and told stories of extreme courage and evil in some of the most unimaginable circumstances and believes storytelling is the best way for us as humans to connect and share our values.

Robert received his master’s degree in Film/TV at the University of Southern California, achieving his goal of becoming a director. Robert feels the experiences and skills he’s gained in the military will help him tell truthful and human stories both about the Soldier and those we have tried to help. Robert is currently developing a short film that he’ll be turning into a feature film called ‘The Interpreter’. The story is based on Robert’s experiences with his interpreter while deployed to Afghanistan. With a film like The Interpreter Robert hopes to illuminate and help change the bureaucracy that keeps us from following through with the promise we made to them.

Tara Flaugher, 2021 Tillman Scholar

Tara Flaugher’s paper, Self-Perception of Cognitive-Communication Functions After Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, has been published in the journal of American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.

Tara enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 2010. While serving, she continued to learn about diversity on worldwide partnership missions to establish and maintain foreign relations with U.S. allied counties. During these missions, she navigated various hydrographic survey vessels through high seas and used her scientific skills to make daily weather observations and collect quality salinity, soil, and sonar data. She also led educational programs on best practices for international port surveys for foreign and domestic service military service members. After honorably serving for four years, she decided to separate from the Navy in 2014 to pursue her education at Texas State University, where she received her bachelor of science in biology.

Currently, Tara is a doctoral student at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where she helps lead a diverse group of transdisciplinary researchers in understanding communication skills after mild traumatic brain injury. Upon completing her neuroscience Ph.D., she will continue her life-long pursuit of helping individuals, like her brother, that struggle with communication to tell their stories through participation in her language research at one of her future transdisciplinary research clinics.