Sixth Class

Pat Tillman Foundation is proud to name 58 U.S. service members, veterans and military spouses as 2014 Tillman Scholars. In recognition of their service, leadership and academic excellence, the newly selected class will receive over $1.4 million in scholarships to pursue their higher education and continue their service in the fields of medicine, law, business, government, education, technology and the arts. After an extensive selection process, the scholars were chosen from over 7,500 interested applicants, and they will represent 39 Universities and colleges nationwide.

  • Read the official announcement from President & Co-Founder Marie Tillman.
  • Explore the profiles of Tillman Military Scholars and their areas of impact.
  • Learn more about the criteria to join the Class of 2015 Tillman Military Scholars.
  • Watch the highlights from the 10th Annual Pat’s Run benefiting scholars.

Meet The 2014 Tillman Military Scholars

Nikki Altman, Spouse

Texas A&M University
BA, Human Resources
Smithville, Texas

Nikki served troops as a flight attendant on chartered military flights. After her husband Joseph was killed in Afghanistan, she enrolled at Texas A&M to study human resource development in an effort to better prepare military families for the challenges of reintegration.

Tyson Williams, Navy

Texas A&M University
MS, Hydrologic Science
Lampasas, TX

Tyson served in the U.S. Navy’s nuclear propulsion program where he gained valuable experience as an engineering technician. To improve access to clean drinking water, he is focusing his studies on urban stormwater management and water resource development in impoverished nations.

Marshall Bahr, Army

University of Nebraska
Doctor of Medicine
Omaha, NE

Marshall gained a unique insight into medicine and trauma as a special operations medic in the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, along with a view into how those wounds are treated for decades to come. He is pursuing a doctorate in medicine at the University of Nebraska with a focus on anesthesiology and pain management to better prepare fellow veterans for long-term care.

Mauricio Zumba, Army

Eastern Washington U.
MA, Clinical Psychology
Darlington, SC

Mauricio, a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserves Engineer Corps, served a tour in Iraq in 2009 and a tour in Afghanistan in 2010. Assigned as a Team Leader in a Route Clearance Platoon, he performed IED removal operations during his latest tour – which sparked an overwhelming interest in the effects of deployments on soldiers. As a psychologist, he strives to help soldiers decrease the effects of deployment on mental health.

Jovy Batong, Navy

University of Maryland
BS, Bioengineering
Palisades Park, NJ

Jovy’s service in the Navy helped her realize the importance of community service in all aspects of her life. Her engineering background has led to an interest in advancing prosthetics using the latest technology, and she will earn a degree in bioengineering at the University of Maryland.

Alexander Beasy, Navy

UT – San Antonio
BS, Biology
San Antonio, TX

Alexander’s training as a Navy SEAL instilled the discipline and tenacity needed to become a physician. After returning to his hometown, he is studying biology at the University of Texas at San Antonio, with the goal to begin medical school next year.

James Bishop, Air Force

Indiana University
PhD, English
Arnold, NE

James has dedicated his life to the complementary missions of service and scholarship. After teaching at a military service academy as an Air Force officer, James will pursue a PhD in American Literature while serving in the Air Force Reserves. He intends to return to teaching at the Air Force Academy.

Kyle Brown, Army

University of Arizona
PhD, Environmental Studies
Portland, OR

Kyle’s service as an Army Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan allowed him to see the effects of people ravaged by sickness. He will pursue a PhD in environmental studies at the University of Arizona to study public health and infectious disease transmission to help improve health at home and abroad.

Tracy Buettner, Army

University of Minnesota
MA, Psychology
Mahtomedi, MN

Tracy’s education in sociology and service as an Army officer has led to a passion for helping others realize their success. She will earn an MA in psychology at the University of Minnesota to become a school counselor and help children develop into tomorrow’s leaders.

William Burns, Navy

University of Miami
Doctor of Medicine
Tulsa, OK

William’s service as a Navy pilot in combat zones led to an unconventional path to become a volunteer EMT and firefighter. At the University of Miami, William will earn a doctorate in medicine and continue to help service his community.

Anna Chai, Army

Columbia University
Yongsan, Korea

Anna’s service as an Army Signal Corps officer helped her develop an acumen for strategic communications in the most challenging environments. Her studies will continue as she earns her MBA at Columbia University, which will give her the tools necessary to help bring business solutions to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Mike Christman, USMC

UC – Berkeley
Alexandria, VA

Michael’s career as an intelligence analyst and Marine helicopter pilot gave him a unique perspective into extremist behavior around the world. His pursuit of an MBA at the University of California at Berkeley will help him find pragmatic solutions to help eradicate global social issues that contribute to conflict and instability.

Renn Clapp, U.S. Army

U. of Southern Maine
MS, Nursing
Belfast, ME

Renn’s family history is the story of service to the country. As an Army officer, Renn’s extensive work in the medical care field has led to graduate studies in nursing at the University of Southern Maine. Renn plans to work for VA or return to active duty to help fill critical roles in mental health care.

Travis Dziubla, Navy

UC – Berkeley
Reno, NV

Life aboard a Navy submarine has taught Travis important lessons of conserving energy and resources. His pursuit of an MBA and the University of California at Berkeley will allow Travis to create alternative energy solutions for rural villages in Asia, a place he calls home.

Erasmo Espino, Army

Campbell University
Doctor of Medicine
Eagle Pass, TX

A fourteen year Army veteran and Silver Star recipient, Erasmo served on the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan as a Green Beret in the elite Army Special Forces Regiment. Now, a husband and a father, he is a full-time medical student who plans to practice as a physician in underserved rural communities.

Joseph Falvey, Navy

Yale University
Juris Doctor
Plymouth, MI

As a Marine Corps infantry officer, Joseph led junior Marines in some of the most contested areas of Afghanistan. As a law student at Yale, he will develop the skills and expertise necessary to continue service in national security law and policy.

Greg Freisinger, Army

Ohio State University
PhD, Engineering
Maywood, NJ

Greg’s love of engineering led to a career as an Army Sapper and service in Thailand and Iraq, but the future of his work lies in the human body. Greg will earn his PhD in biomechanical engineering at Ohio State University to help advance care for wounded troops.

Amy Fidler, Army

Austin Peay State
MS, Social Work
Manchester, NH

Serving two deployments and seven years in the Army, Amy came to learn how much every service member contributes and gives up in their quest to serve their country. At Austin Peay State University, she will pursue her Masters in Social Work and license as an LCSW to support military families in need.

Carlos Gonzalez, Army

Indiana University
Juris Doctor
San Francisco, CA

A U.S. Army veteran, Carlos served a one-year tour in Iraq in 2004 and came home to continue his service as a police officer with the Oakland Police Department for eleven-years. He wants to pursue his law degree, leveraging both his military and civil service in the courtroom to provide legal services for the underserved.

La Chiana Hamilton, Army

University of South Florida
MS, Nursing
Riverview, FL

After serving her country in the U.S. Army for a decade, LaChiana resigned her commission to care for her sick son when he required open heart surgery. Now, as a nurse, she wants to improve primary care for pediatric patients like her son at military hospitals.

Brandon Hammond, Navy

University of Arizona
Doctor of Medicine
Nichols, SC

Brandon’s motivation for pursuing a career as a physician in a rural under-served community stems from his childhood experiences on his family’s tobacco farm. He wants to incorporate his Navy experience, and interest in economics, business and global health to impact health care delivery to underserved both at home and abroad.

Bradley Hansell, Army

University of Virginia
Philadelphia, PA

Brad’s experiences leading Special Forces teams in both South America and Afghanistan opened his eyes to the lack of economic infrastructure abroad. He is pursuing his MBA to continue working at the nexus of international business and public policy.

Bonnie Hayes, Air Force

Georgetown University
MPS, Sports Management
Chicago, IL

While deployed as a mental health technician overseas, Bonnie helped services members cope with the stressors and tension associated with war. She is studying Sports Industry Management to help open more sports facility that focus on providing events, mental health counseling and adaptive equipment for wounded warriors.

Caesar Hernandez, USMC

University of Florida
Doctor of Medicine
Delray Beach

Caesar enlisted in the Marines after the 9/11 attacks and left for boot camp as soon as high school was completed. After for years active-duty, he is pursuing his passion for science by earning a PhD in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Florida.

Sarah Hutchison, Spouse

University of Arizona
Doctor of Medicine
Tucson, AZ

As a wife of a PJ and a third year medical student, Sarah is working hard to become a leader in her community both on the military front and as a future physician. Fueled by her work in the community clinics at University of Arizona, she wants to help improve access to quality health care for the underserved.

Wayne Johnson, Army

Georgetown University
MA, International Affairs
Florence, AL

Wayne served three years overseas with the U.S. Army, and has volunteered as a missionary in remote corners of South America. At Georgetown, he is concentrating on international development, humanitarian emergencies, and refugee policy, while continuing his service in the Army Civil Affairs Reserves.

James Johnston, Army

East Tennessee State
Doctor of Medicine
Smyrna, TN

James spent seventeen years in the Army, including thirteen of them in the Special Forces, where he learned about combat and trauma medicine on the front lines. After seven years of night school in between deployments, he is on path to becoming an emergency physician through Quillen College of Medicine.

Kimberly Jung, Army

Harvard University
Los Angeles, CA

As a platoon leader, Kim led troops to secure the Wardak and Ghazni provinces, and supplemented female engagement teams to help empower village women in Paktika Province. At Harvard, she has put together a team and will return to Afghanistan this summer to help establish saffron as a sustainable crop.

Adrienne Kambouris, Army

Georgia Regents U.
BS, Biology
Baltimore, MD

Serving directly after 9/11, Adrienne learned what it meant to place the welfare of others above self – and its importance – through two deployments during Operation Iraqi Freedom. She is currently studying cell and molecular biology with the goal of attending medical school and returning to the military as a physician to improve care for female service members and veterans.

Sophi Kim, Navy

Harvard University
St. Louis, MO

As a second-generation Korean-American, Sophi answered the nation’s calling and joined the Navy after graduating from college. She was selected as one of first females to serve on submarines in U.S. military history. Now, she is pursuing her MBA at Harvard with a focus on technology and entrepreneurship.

Diana Kramer, Air Force

Arizona State University
BA, Psychology
Lake Tahoe, CA

Diana graduated from Naval School, Explosive Ordnance Disposal in 2003 and had since deployed five times, twice each to Iraq and Afghanistan. Recognizing the symptoms of PTSD in her own life after her tours, she is now pursuing her degree in Psychology to help counsel fellow veterans.

John Kuhn, Army

Stanford University
Naperville, IL

John served twenty years of service in the U.S. Army special operations community, and credits his family with fueling his desire to continuing his service at home. This fall, he will transition to Stanford where he will pursue his studies in business and management to help address technology gaps both home and abroad.

Michael La Rocca, Army

University of Alabama
PhD, Psychology
Cincinnati, OH

Mike served as an infantry officer in South Korea and later Iraq where he earned a Purple Heart. Now, a doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at the University of Alabama, he works with veterans at the local VA while completing his dissertation on predictors of PTSD symptoms in combat veterans.

Tom Lefebvre, USMC

Duke University
Doctor of Medicine
Freehold, NJ

Tom comes from a family of servicemen who instilled in him the meaning of sacrifice, humility, servitude, and love of country. At Duke Medical school, he is studying to become an orthopedic surgeon in the U.S. Navy, specializing in prosthetics and rehabilitation to advance care for wounded warriors.

Dave Lewis, Army

University of Chicago
Herndon, VA

From 2011-2012, Dave led combat troops on numerous counterinsurgency operations in Kandahar’s restive Zharay District, the historic home of the Taliban. Driven by his experiences in Afghanistan, he is pursuing his MBA with a focus on the U.S. food industry and how to implement solutions to hunger issues – particularly food deserts – in America and abroad.

Logan Leslie, Army

Harvard University
BA, Economics
Haddam, CT

The son of a Vietnam veteran, Logan served combat missions in Baghdad as a 19-year-old Sergeant in the 101st Airborne Division, and later returned as a Green Beret. As one of the only veteran undergraduates at Harvard, he is deeply committed to helping fellow veterans seize educational opportunities. He currently serves a Program Director for the Warrior Scholar Project.

Jaime Lopez, USMC

Master of Public Health
Gustine, CA

Inspired by his service in Iraq and experience as the son of immigrant farm workers, Jaime is pursuing a Master of Public Health at UCLA and hopes to pursue a PhD. His research is focused on addressing social determinants of health, which have disproportionately affected ethnic and economic minorities in the US.

Trill Finlayson, Army

University of South Florida
PhD, Microbiology
Beach, ND

A veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Trillitye spends her weekends drilling with the Army National Guard and her weekdays striving to cure cancer. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Cellular, Molecular, and Microbiology to implement innovative techniques to better detect and eradicate ovarian cancer, which very nearly killed her mother.

Adam Mathes, Navy

Emory University
PhD, Religion & Theology
Atlanta, GA

Having distinguished himself as a platoon commander in the 2004 Battle of Fallujah (Operation Phantom Fury), Adam deployed twice more to Iraq in the violent environments of Haditha and the surge. Now, serving as a Navy Chaplain, Adam plans to teach in a college or seminary and assist others in critically thinking about the ways history and religion continue to shape civil society.

Matthew McCallum, USMC

University of Oregon
MA, Psychology
Escalante, UT

Five years of service and two combat tours to Afghanistan exposed Matthew to the stressors of deployment on military families. Now, enrolled in Oregon’s Couples and Family Therapy program, he wants to assist veterans, service members, and their families in facing the marital and family challenges that the military lifestyle presents.

Andrew Medburg, Navy

University of Arizona
Doctor of Medicine
Bethesda, MD

Andrew’s dream of returning to military service as a physician was shattered by a head injury sustained in Afghanistan. One of the 40% of all TBI patients who experience vision loss, he is studying TBI vision therapy to support fellow veterans while pursuing his medical degree at the University of Arizona.

Maria Moeller, Army

Old Dominion University
BFA, Painting
Gardena, CA

Maria enlisted in the Army in 2003 and dedicated almost 10 years of active duty service, most recently as a Cultural Support Team leader. She is now pursuing her fine arts degree in painting at Old Dominion University to leverage art therapy as a means to support wounded warriors, their dependents, and others who need therapeutic care after trauma.

David Odgers, Army

Stanford University
MS, Biomedical Informatics
Flagstaff, AZ

David served as a non-commissioned officer in Army Intelligence for six years with tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. Now attending Stanford University School of Medicine, he is focusing his Biomedical Informatics studies on combining artificial intelligence with medical decision making, to extend healthcare to underserved people around the world.

Benjamin Nelson, USMC

University of Washington
Juris Doctor
Seattle, WA

Ben deployed three times, twice to Iraq and most recently to Afghanistan where he served as a platoon commander and operations officer in Helmand Province. He aspires to be a district prosecuting attorney in Seattle and will complete an internship this summer with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Tricia Robinson, Army

George Washington U.
PsyD, Clinical Psychology
Pasadena, MD

A former finance officer, Tricia resigned her military commission to pursue graduate studies in clinical psychology and embark on a mental health profession. Fueled by her own experience deployed to Iraq and multiple military moves and trainings, she wants to ensure that service members, veterans and their families receive the superb mental heath care they deserve.

Lydia Short, Spouse

UNC, Chapel Hill
MS, Social Work
Fayetteville, NC

As a military spouse and step-parent to a child on the autism spectrum, Lydia Short wants to improve community resources for families facing the demands of military life and raising a special needs child. She is pursuing her MSW to implement policies that will positively impact the mental health as well as child abuse prevention services for military communities.

Andrew Smith, Army

Virginia Tech
PhD, Psychology
Wyalusing, PA

Andrew served combat tours in 2003 and 2004, during which he began to observe fundamental mental health issues that soldiers struggled with as combat deployments repeated and wore-on. His current doctoral training at Virginia Tech is focused on traumatic stress adaptation, and he strives to improve public understanding of post-combat adaptation obstacles for veterans in school and the civilian workforce.

Nikolaos Sidiropoulos, Navy

Baltimore, MD

Nikolaos completed five combat deployments in 11 years of active-duty service. Fueled by his personal passion for training and fitness, he is now pursuing his MBA to grow a start up business that improves accessibility to health and fitness centers for more communities, while continuing his own service in the reserves.

Jamal Sowell, USMC

Indiana University
Juris Doctor
Orlando, FL

As an enlisted Marine who became an Officer, Jamal credits the military with honing his leadership skills. Serving in Afghanistan allowed him to gain the perspective on how international events like 9/11 shape and impact communities. As a lawyer, he wants to work in business in addition to focusing on national security policy, while mentoring disadvantaged youth about leadership and service.

Katherine Steele, Spouse

George Washington U.
Master of Education
Seattle, WA

As a military spouse, mother and teacher who has served in K-12 school systems across 8 states, Katherine has a unique vision for a system of charter schools located near active duty military bases to better support military dependents. Now pursuing her Master of Education, she wants to design and create a replicable, standardized, and quality education system for military families.

Frances Urmann, Army

Duquesne University
BS, Nursing
Wexford, PA

Fran’s experience serving in Afghanistan and seeing her own wounded Soldiers solidified her decision to become a nurse. Through Duquesne University’s accelerated Second Degree Nursing Program, she plans to become a Nurse Practitioner and leverage her education to help improve medical techniques on and off the battlefield.

Christopher Ustler, Army

Columbia University
MA, International Affairs
Staten Island, NY

Chris spent six years on active duty, including two tours to Iraq, and continues to serve in the New York National Guard. Leveraging his military service abroad with his degree program in International Relations, he wants to support U.S. foreign policy with a particular focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

Elizabeth Verardo, Army

Yale University
MA, International Relations
Centerport, NY

After graduating from West Point in 2007, Liz deployed as an Apache helicopter pilot and platoon leader in Afghanistan. With a degree in International Relations, she plans to return to West Point as an instructor in the Department of Social Sciences and mentor the Army’s future leaders

John Waggoner, Navy

UC, San Diego
Doctor of Medicine
Sandusky, OH

John accomplished many of his goals after becoming a Navy SEAL, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan over multiple tours. But his next chapter in life will focus on care for the men and women who served beside him. John will earn his medical degree, and plans to return to active Navy service afterwards.

Shireen Wanoskia, USMC

University of New Mexico
BA, Psychology & Criminology
Dulce, NM

Shireen grew up determined to do more than she ever thought possible and be a beacon of hope for others to make a similar change. A world away, during her initial deployment to Iraq, Shireen volunteered for the Lioness Program which allowed her to witness the difference in freedom and equality between local women and being an American were monumental. With a dual degree, she wants to work with the FBI to ensure protection of the innocent and underserved.

David Welker, Air Force

University of South Florida
MS, Nursing
Lutz, FL

Motivated by the horrific events of 9/11, Dave elected to enlist as a Pararescueman in the Air Force. He witnessed the devastating effects of poverty on basic health care in South America and the hardships faced by the dedicated servicemen and women serving as peacekeeping forces in volatile areas of the world. As a nurse anesthetist, he wants to improve health care services to underserved communities.

Nicholas White, USMC

Columbia University
Doctor of Medicine
Wading River, NY

While deployed to Iraq, Nicholas was profoundly impressed by the contributions of both American and Iraqi doctors and corpsmen. Since leaving active duty, he has focused his medical research to help advance new therapies for neuropsychological diseases and injuries–such as PTSD and TBI–which afflict many veterans.