Tillman Scholars in the News

Blog, Tillman Scholars in the News | 03/05/2021

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.

Jonathan Lu, 2020 Tillman Scholar

Jonathan Lu was elected as Vice President of the Bald Hills Fire Department Association and will be responsible for oversight on its 501(c)(3) status and health and wellness initiatives. He also was named Best Poster Presenter by the 2020 Special Operations Medical Association Scientific Assembly. Jonathan’s presentation was a critical analysis called “PTSD and Workplace Stress Among U.S. Army Special Forces Soldiers.”

Jonathan served in the U.S. Army where he qualified as a Special Forces medical sergeant and subsequently deployed several times to Southeast Asia and Afghanistan. During this time, Jonathan first hypothesized that certain biopsychosocial factors predisposed the Army Special Forces population to worsening health outcomes more severely than previously held. Now a Special Forces team sergeant, Jonathan continues to lead through humble service to others.

Neil Vigil, 2018 Tillman Scholar

Neil Vigil’s original research entitled “Suicide Among the EMS Occupation in the United States” was published in the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine. Neil’s research is a 10-year, 26-state analysis of suicide among EMTs and firefighters compared to the general public.

Neil’s time as an Army medic was his first experience in the medical field and the foundation for his desire to become a physician. As a medic, he observed the power of compassion and communication in developing trust between himself and his soldiers while delivering care.


Adrian Perkins, 2015 Tillman Scholar

Adrian Perkins was the featured speaker for the Excel Scholars Program at West Point. The Excel Scholars Program is an initiative to get underrepresented populations in post-graduate scholarships by encouraging them to strive for a higher standard and be an instrument for change by competing for post-graduate scholarships.

While a law student, he focused his scholarship on criminal justice reform and the importance of innovation in small and mid-sized cities. Adrian is the mayor of Shreveport, Louisiana, and ran for the U.S. Senate in 2020.


Jamal Sowell, 2014 Tillman Scholar

Jamal Sowell was named one of the 2021 Black Men in Excellence by the Black Professionals Network in honor of Black History Month. Jamal is Florida’s Secretary of Commerce and the President & CEO of Enterprise Florida, Inc., and leads EFI, the principal economic development organization for the state of Florida. With his team, Sowell works closely with economic development partners and private-sector businesses across the state to strengthen and diversify Florida’s economy and sets the course for an organization that spans the entire state and commands a strong international presence, as EFI strategically negotiates Florida’s partnerships in international commerce.

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. After graduation, he then went on active duty as an officer. 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.