Tillman Scholars in the News

Blog, Tillman Scholars in the News | 02/03/2023

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.

Bernard Toney, 2022 Tillman Scholar

Bernard Toney was a guest on the Lessons Learned For Vets podcast, on the episode, The Power of Humility in the Military Transition. You can listen to him here.

Major Toney began his pursuit of public health due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During his service in the WHMU, he conducted 84 domestic and five overseas missions in support of the President and Vice President. Consequently, he assessed hospital systems and witnessed the social determinants of health that lead to health disparities and inequalities in the United States and worldwide. His goal is to partner with cross-sectoral stakeholders to foster equity and impact the most disenfranchised populations on the margins of society.

Currently, he is a Master of Public Health candidate at The George Washington University and recently completed a graduate certificate in Global Health at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in May 2022. His combat deployments include Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) 2 and OEF 3 as the Special Operations Team-Alpha Team Sergeant and senior French Linguist for 3rd Battalion 3rd Special Forces Group, and OEF 4 as the Secretary of General Staff for 30th Medical Command.

Adiba Hassan, 2020 Tillman Scholar

Adiba HassanAdiba Hassan was named a National Veterans Leadership Foundation 2023 Leadership Fellow.

Born in Bangladesh and raised in Southeast Asia, Adiba witnessed firsthand the effects of poverty and sociocultural segregation on a global scale. It motivated her towards a career in public health as she believes interventions in public health can bridge the gap in basic human rights.

With a goal to improve health and security, she has dedicated her career in public health, working with vulnerable populations from the prisons of Malaysia to maternal health programs in the slums of Bangladesh to HIV prevention programs in sub-Saharan Africa. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she has managed HIV treatment centers in Nigeria, Mozambique and Cameroon with the support of the President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief to increase providers, treatment opportunities and improve retention in care across health centers. In the U.S., her research focuses on populations affected by HIV/AIDS, publishing scientific manuscripts to guide public health interventions in slowing down and ultimately ending the HIV epidemic.

Lance Decker, 2020 Tillman Scholar

Lance DeckerLance Decker spoke at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting in Washington DC about how government and academia can collaborate together to build careers awareness in secondary education and career readiness in higher education.  

After tragically losing his son to a drug overdose in 2012, Lance combined his grief and love of teaching to become a certified grief recovery specialist, reaching out to his community to help grievers find peace, hope and new direction. Since 2015, Lance has touched more than 150 people through his grief classes and speaks regularly on the topic.

Throughout his military career and the years after Lance has earned two associate degrees, a bachelor’s and a master’s in engineering. Leveraging his love for teaching, strong engineering background and his sincere desire to help people, Lance is now pursuing his Ph.D. in interdisciplinary engineering. He has also set aside a career in industry to teach as an engineering professor at the collegiate level. To Lance, there’s nothing more thrilling than seeing the recognition of learning in a student’s eyes when a complex topic is suddenly understood or deep emotional pain is lifted from someone’s heart.

Charlotte Burnett, 2017 Tillman Scholar

Charlie Burnett was promoted from Senior Associate to Vice President at JP Morgan Chase.

As the second oldest of nine children, Charlie always felt it was important to be a part of something larger than herself.  Charlie recognized Army ROTC at Wake Forest University as an opportunity to join one of the greatest teams in the world.  After graduating college, Charlie was stationed at Fort Bragg, NC where she served four years as a Human Resources Officer in the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

As the Human Resources Officer in an organization that continually deploys hundreds of soldiers across ten countries in the Pacific Region, Charlie discovered her passion for managing human capital and building organizations.  It is much more than putting the right person in the right position.  Charlie realized the value of leveraging the Army’s greatest asset: our people.  Charlie is earned her Master of Business Administration to further develop her passion of shaping organizations through expertly crafted human dynamics.  She believes business has the power to drive change, but behind that change is always people—people making decisions and questioning the status quo.

As the founder of the Fort Bragg Women’s Mentorship Network, Charlie quickly learned that managing human capital is essential to closing the gender gap.  As a female veteran, she wants to use her skills as a Human Capital Consultant to create her own Human Capital Consulting firm that advises Fortune 500 companies to build women capital and create global leaders.