Tillman Scholars in the News

Blog, Tillman Scholars in the News | 03/11/2021

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.

Annie Kleiman, 2015 Tillman Scholar & Phil Caruso, 2016 Tillman Scholar

Annie Kleiman and Phil Caruso are serving on the Board of Directors for No One Left Behind — an all-volunteer organization working to support Special Immigrant Visa recipients.

Annie served in the Air Force as a cadet in Civil Air Patrol, where her job was to engage with women and children during “outside the wire” missions – ultimately sparking her interest in the role of women in conflict, not simply as victims but actors who can make positive impacts in conflict reduction and prevention. She chose to attend grad school to further contribute to this field.

Phil is also an Air Force veteran, where he learned that although it seems like only a precious few take the world upon their shoulders and sacrifice for the greater good, anyone can step up and make a difference. He made it his mission is to make an impact and inspire others to do the same and pursued his JD/MBA at Harvard University.


Austin Field, 2020 Tillman Scholar

Austin Field was just appointed to the Community Police Commission by the Seattle City Council. The Community Police Commission serves as the voice of the people of Seattle regarding police reform and accountability. As a commissioner, he will be responsible for soliciting community input, producing reports, and voting on recommendations to Seattle’s City Council.

Austin has also been active with efforts in Washington to abolish our state’s bar exam. The bar exam discriminates on the basis of class and race, and he is working to adopt a system similar to that used by Wisconsin, which does not require graduates of state law schools to pass a bar exam. Listen to his interview on KNKX-AM.
Austin deployed to Afghanistan as an infantry platoon leader. While deployed, he led counterinsurgency operations and served as a combat advisor to the Afghan Army and Afghan National Police.

Haliehana Stepetin, 2020 Tillman Scholar

Haliehana Stepetin was awarded a Mellon Public Scholars Fellowship for a summer 2021 project she proposed in collaboration titled, “Digital Storytelling: Subsistence Processes and Recipes in Unangam Tunuu.”

Throughout Haliehana’s four years in the U.S. Navy, she developed strong leadership skills and a desire to never stop learning. The experience Haliehana gained as work center supervisor and a vital member of numerous shipboard teams ignited a yearning for a high-paced, intellectually challenging environment. Seven years after being honorably discharged, her work has come full circle as she pursues a Ph.D. in Native American Studies at the University of California Davis.


Lance Decker, 2020 Tillman Scholar

Lance Decker received a Fellowship from the Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program, which comes with a $41,500 grant to support his research. Lance also published two papers: Tracking Loading, Unloading, and Positioning Pallets on a Semi-Tractor Trailer Using Bluetooth Low-Energy Beacon Technology and Novel Approach to Team Emotional Intelligence and Agile Project Management Techniques to Lead Undergraduates Through a Technical Research Project

After his service in the Air Force, teaching avionics and satellite communications at Keesler AFB in Mississippi, Lance has chosen to pursue 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.