November 5, 2020

Tillman Honors

Celebrating Pat’s legacy and the impact of the Tillman Scholars.

Tillman Honors 2020

In our livestream, Champion honorees Jon Stewart and John Feal spoke about the importance of humble leadership and and tenacity. 2015 Tillman Scholar Jackie Munn reflected on her work as a mom, public health nurse practitioner and writer as she accepted the Make Your Mark award for exemplifying Pat’s values of scholarship, service, humble leadership and impact.

Additionally, three scholars presented Make Your Mark talks: Karen Gallagher, Michael Kothakota and Emily Balog.

The program was hosted by Board Member Alex Garwood and also featured CEO and Tillman Scholar Dan Futrell and Board Chair and Cofounder Marie Tillman.

The Champion Award

The Champion Award celebrates Pat’s legacy and belief that we should always strive to be part of something bigger than ourselves, by recognizing an individual for remarkable civic contributions, extraordinary fortitude and spirit of service.

Jon Stewart and John Feal

2020 Champion Award

This year, we proudly present the 2020 Champion Award to Jon Stewart and John Feal for their efforts in securing healthcare and a victims’ compensation fund for all 9/11 first responders and for their work advocating for the millions of veterans facing toxic injuries from burn pits.

Stewart, the comedian and activist, partnered with Feal, a military veteran and 9/11 first responder who lost part of his foot to an injury at Ground Zero and others, to advocate and pass legislation guaranteeing healthcare and compensation for all 9/11 first responders who lived, worked or went to school in lower Manhattan, the Pentagon and Shanksville until 2090. This effort required more than 15 years’ of lobbying and true grassroots activism. Now, with bipartisan support, they want to ensure health care benefits and support for veterans who suffer from the toxic aftermath of burn pit exposure. 

2019 Champion Awardee John McCain

Sen. John McCain

2019 Champion Award

Kamau Murray

2018 Champion Award

Gabrielle Giffords & Mark Kelly

2017 Champion Award

Jon Krakauer

2016 Champion Award

Sebastian Junger

2015 Champion Award

The Make Your Mark Award

The Make Your Mark Award celebrates Pat’s legacy and belief that we should always strive to be part of something bigger than ourselves, by recognizing a Tillman Scholar for embodying the values of service, scholarship, humble leadership and impact in their work and daily life.

Jackie Munn

2020 Make Your Mark Award

For embodying the values of service, scholarship, humble leadership and impact, PTF honors 2015 Tillman Scholar Jackie Munn with the 2020 Make Your Mark Award. As a public health nurse practitioner, Jackie helps her county’s efforts by caring for low-income and non-insured patients at her public health department and managing the healthcare records for Arlington County’s first responders and public safety officers.

Once the pandemic hit, she also helped her county’s efforts with contact tracing to stymie the spread of the coronavirus, balancing her professional responsibilities with managing remote learning for her son while her husband, a former Green Beret, was away for work.

Munn is a West Point graduate, former Army captain and military spouse turned writer and nurse practitioner working for the Arlington County, Va., public health department.

Working with wounded soldiers in Washington D.C., and vulnerable women and children in Afghanistan had a profound impact on Jackie, and motivated her to pursue a career in the medical field, a passion rooted in providing empathetic care to predominately underserved and vulnerable populations.

She believes that everyone deserves access to quality and affordable healthcare, and as a provider, it is her responsibility to partner with her patients and community to achieve the best health outcomes for those she serves.

2019 Make Your Mark Awardee Adrian Perkins

Adrian Perkins

2019 Make Your Mark Award

Jason Turner

2018 Make Your Mark Award

Chris Roessner

2017 Make Your Mark Award

Kimberly Jung

2016 Make Your Mark Award

Adrian Kinsella

2015 Make Your Mark Award

Service to School:
Tim Hsia & Khalil Tawil

2015 Make Your Mark Award

2020 Make Your Mark Talks

The Game Will End

Karen Gallagher

In her Make Your Mark talk, Dr. Karen Gallagher discusses her research into the parallels between elite athletes finishing their careers and active duty military personnel transitioning to civilian life, reflecting on her own experience and charting a new path forward. 

Karen is a 2016 Tillman Scholar and Army veteran. After her deployment to Desert Storm, she earned her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree while caring for her disabled child, commuting an hour each way to school, and waiting tables on the weekends. After completing her doctoral degree at Arizona State University, Karen joined the Global Sport Institute, where she is now a senior researcher. Her work focuses on elite athletes and the post-sport journey and how it aligns with the experiences of military veterans in the military-to-civilian transition.

Making Personal Finance Work for You

Michael Kothakota

In his Make Your Mark Talk, Dr. Michael Kothakota focuses on a topic that so many struggle to understand: personal finance. He argues that there are no one size fits all solutions for financial planning. What’s needed instead is an individualized approach focused on your needs and wants, past, present and future.

Michael Kothakota is a 2013 TillmanScholar and Army veteran who served in Iraq. He earned his M.S. in predictive analytics from Northwestern University and Ph.D. from Kansas State. He now runs WolfBridge Wealth, a research-based financial planning firm.

Ageism in America

Emily Balog

In her Make Your Mark talk, Emily Balog discusses how confronting ageist stereotypes leads to better health outcomes for older adults.

Emily Balog, a 2018 Tillman Scholar, served six years in the U.S. Air Force, including in Operation Enduring Freedom. After leaving the service, she became an occupational therapist specializing in geriatrics before embarking on a Ph.D. in translational health science from George Washington University.

2019 Make Your Mark Talks

Pushing Body Armor into the Next Generation

Zeeshan Parvez

In his Make Your Mark talk, Zeeshan explains the current state of the body armor industry, the challenges and roadblocks it faces, and the potential for innovation in the field thanks to new materials and technologies.

Zeeshan Parvez is a 2018 Tillman Scholar and a Ph.D. candidate in the Chemistry and Biochemistry department at UCLA focusing on Materials Chemistry. He served in the United States Marine Corps with the Marine Special Operations Command as a critical skills operator, now known as the “Marine Raiders.” He deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, with a mission focus of unconventional warfare and foreign internal defense. He is an active member of the veteran community and is focused on making a positive impact on the protection of our service members who are deployed in harm’s way.

How to Change Your Fate

Katie Piston

In her Make Your Mark Talk, Katie discusses her work on Epigenetics, the study of the biological mechanisms that govern gene expression, and the way this field is changing our understanding of the nature vs. nurture debate.

Katie Piston is a Navy spouse and third year bioengineering Ph.D. student at Syracuse University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from Purdue University and has six years’ work experience in the medical device industry. Katie’s one overarching goal is to make a measurable impact on world health through both scientific innovation and teaching. In 2019, Katie was selected to receive the highly competitive NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. She served two years as a teaching assistant resulting in nomination for Syracuse University’s “Outstanding Teaching Assistant” award. In addition, she has worked as a research mentor for over 20 undergraduate and masters’ students. Katie’s commitment to teaching transcends the classroom as she also shares her passion for health as a fitness coach.

Answering Trauma with Compassion & Connection

Rae Anne Frey-Ho Fung

In her Make York Mark talk, Rae Anne outlines her role in developing an intensive trauma recovery program for children in the Milwaukee area and the personal experiences that raised the stakes for this project’s success.

Rae Anne Frey is a 2013 Tillman Scholar, an Army veteran and a licensed psychologist who specializes in the use of evidence-based interventions to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and co-morbid mental health conditions at Rogers Behavioral Health Hospital in the greater Milwaukee area. Rae Anne’s interest in trauma psychology emerged from her time as an urban teacher and serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. She has since treated survivors of interpersonal violence, sexual assault, physical abuse, community violence, combat, motor vehicle and industrial accidents, among other traumas. Most recently she was tasked to combine her experience as an urban educator and her knowledge of trauma psychology to develop an Adolescent Trauma Recovery Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Program for Rogers Behavioral Health. She currently supervises that program, as well as Adult Trauma Recovery and Mental Health/Substance Use Residential program. 

2018 Make Your Mark Talks

Tara Heidger

Tara discusses how innovative rural and urban planning can be used in post- conflict refugee resettlement.

Jameson Lopez

Jameson explains how data collection on and by Native American people can be leveraged by Native communities to combat invisibility and its subsequent consequences.

Emily Junkins

Emily explains how her research on drug-resistant bacteria, also known as “super bugs”, fits into the current drug discovery pipeline.

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