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.
Seth Kastle, 2016 Tillman Scholar
Seth Kastle published an article titled Faculty Perceptions of the Essential Elements of Leadership Across Generations and Sex in the Journal of Higher Education Management.
As a young man, Seth spent most of his time making poor decision after poor decision. In high school, the voice of his mother – “college or the military” – pushed him to meet with the first Army recruiter that came to his school. In 1998, halfway through his senior year, Seth enlisted in the Army – not realizing at the time that it would be one of the most impactful decisions of his life.
Seth enlisted in the Army halfway through his senior year of high school in 1998, not realizing at the time it would be one of the most impactful decisions of his life. Upon his return from his second deployment, Seth struggled and admitted he was in denial of problems related to PTSD. In 2011, Seth sought help for himself and his family. His growth and passion led him to write the children’s book Why is Dad So Mad? A Book About PTSD and Military Families, as well as joining the Department of Leadership Studies at Fort Hays State University.
Melissa Mangold, 2018 Tillman Scholar
Melissa Mangold was featured in an article by American University’s School of International Service discussing the legacy of leadership through the Pat Tillman Foundation.
Studying Arabic and Middle Eastern culture during Operation Iraqi Freedom provided the unique opportunity to view the global war on terror and the role of America in the international playing field from a different perspective. It instilled in her a passion to advocate for the responsible pursuit of foreign policy objectives with commitment to the highest ethical standards. After honorably serving in the Army, she pursued this passion as a civil servant in the U.S. Department of State. She served five years in the regional bureau focused on Middle East and North Africa affairs, including two years at the U.S. embassy in Tunisia. Her embassy experience confirmed her inclination to pursue federal law enforcement with the Department of State.
Melissa chose American University’s Masters of International Service to enhance the foundation in global leadership, international policy and national security she previously gained from work experience and an undergraduate degree completed at George Mason University.
Laura Jones, 2021 Tillman Scholar
Laura Jones was featured in an article by Tufts University on her bringing Air Force expertise to proxy warfare research.
As a special operations pilot, Laura became an expert in irregular warfare, personnel recovery, and various other special operations mission sets. Throughout her time as a pilot, Laura deployed as a liaison officer to French-speaking forces in Djibouti, filled a short-term position at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, and conducted U.S. Africa Command-sponsored research in Senegal. Laura also authored a RAND study proposal that was selected for funding and produced five volumes examining adversary disinformation campaigns on social media.
In 2020 Laura was selected by Air Force Special Operations Command to be the command’s first-ever directly sponsored Ph.D. Fellow. After ten years of flying and being immersed in tactical special operations, Laura will pursue a Ph.D. in international relations at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where she will study proxy conflict within modern great power competition. She hopes to use the expertise gained through her Ph.D. to help drive special operations strategy into the future.
Brandi Wooten, 2022 Tillman Scholar
Brandi Wooten published an article in Science Advances on the electric field–dependent phonon spectrum and heat conduction in ferroelectrics.
As only 15% of engineers are women, Brandi has devoted much effort to promoting women in STEM. She is the president of the graduate chapter of Society of Women Engineers at OSU, overseeing programs such as career development courses and networking events. She has been accepted for her third year as a ‘Military Community Advocate’ for women at OSU. In this role, she strives to create a safe and accepting environment for military-affiliated women to flourish.
In the future, Brandi hopes to move towards entrepreneurship by creating a business focused on creating military electronic devices utilizing the most advanced research. She hopes to create a well-rounded professional atmosphere with employees of all backgrounds, especially women and veterans.