November 3, 2022

Tillman Honors

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

Tillman Honors 2022

Join hundreds of our supporters, investors, Tillman Scholars, and others at the City Hall event space at Recess in Chicago on Nov. 3, 2022, to celebrate Pat’s legacy of service and leadership through action.

Stay tuned to see who we’ll honor with our 2022 Champion and Make Your Mark awards, as well as information on our three Make Your Mark Talks. Interested in learning more? Contact Development Director Mercedes Rohlfs at [email protected] 

Tillman Honors 2021 Livestream

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.

Fawzia Koofi

2021 Champion Award

This year, we proudly present the 2021 Champion Award to Fawzia Koofi for for her tireless advocacy for peace and women’s rights in Afghanistan and beyond.

Koofi was the first girl in her family to go to school and the first woman to serve as deputy speaker of Afghanistan’s parliament; she was also one of four women to serve on peace negotiations between the Taliban, the U.S., and the Afghan government. She opened a home school for girls deprived of education during the Taliban’s first regime and has survived multiple assassination attempts for her work advocating for women and girls in Afghanistan to live lives with opportunity and free from violence. 

Jon Stewart & John Feal

2020 Champion Award

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.

The Tillman Scholars of Digital Dunkirk

2021 Make Your Mark Awardees

For embodying the values of service, scholarship, humble leadership and impact, PTF honors  the dozens of Tillman Scholars who participated in the evacuation and resettlement of Afghan allies after the fall of Kabul, in an effort that became known as Digital Dunkirk. Tillman Scholars Kate Hoit, Junaid Lughmani, and Rick Schumacher accepted on behalf of the group. 

Through an informal network built among scholars, NGO and government contacts, and caring citizens, they helped evacuate and resettle hundreds of allies from Afghanistan, and continue to work to support our allies, friends, and family who remain in country or need support as they establish themselves in new surroundings.

In 2018, after four years of military service, Junaid joined a group of entrepreneurs to form a veteran owned broker dealer. On Wall Street, Junaid recognized the role blockchain technology and cryptocurrency can play to create prosperity, and thus decided to pursue an MBA. Junaid will attend Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, after which he plans to continue his life’s work serving as a link between cultures while working to redesign the global financial system.

At 17, Kate decided she wanted to be a part of the U.S. Army Reserve. Three years later, she deployed to Iraq. In a public affairs job for the base newspaper, Kate worked as a writer and photojournalist. This ignited a desire to write more about the war experience, and that passion continued after she returned home. Going overseas and witnessing the realities of war had changed her perspective about life and the world around her. One of the greatest lessons she’s learned from the military is to keep moving forward. As a writer, by both profession and hobby, she has contributed to The New York Times, TIME Magazine and Huffington Post.

Rick enlisted in the US Army while still in high school, with a need to take control of his own future. As a Psychological Operations Specialist, he learned quickly the importance of being a servant-leader. Over 11 years of service as a cross-cultural communicator, he saw parts of the world ravaged by war, poverty, and disaster. These experiences instilled in him the need to do more to protect and serve the neediest among us, domestically as well as internationally.  As a Tillman Scholar, Rick continues to work on projects that reduce social vulnerability in struggling populations.


2020 Make Your Mark Awardee Jackie Munn

Jackie Munn

2020 Make Your Mark Award

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

Make Your Mark Talks

2021 Make Your Mark Talks

From Patient to PHD. Regeneration Requires a New Path

Jayme Hentig

In his Make Your Mark talk, originally given at the 2021 Tillman Honors, Tillman Scholar Jayme Hentig reflects on his journey from patient to PhD. Overcoming his fears and neurological deficits in pursuit of continuing service out of uniform and returning to the military community.

Jayme is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Notre Dame, where he has developed a novel blunt-force TBI model in regenerative zebrafish allowing for the examination of both the injury and the regenerative recovery. His work has been nationally recognized by the National Science Foundation, and he has identified injury-induced activated regeneration, the originating regenerative source, and replacement of lost and damaged brain tissue. He aims to further understand the complex gene regulation providing a potential neuroprotective and regenerative therapeutic to at-risk populations such as service members.

Cultivating the American Dream Through Early Intervention

Sadia Heil

In her talk, originally presented at 2021 Tillman Honors, 2020 Tillman Scholar Sadia Heil reflects on her the mental and emotional grit required to support and champion for her child with developmental delays through early intervention.

As a mother, an Air Force reservist, and a military spouse, Sadia is enthusiastic about advocacy and education. She holds a master of education in special education, with a focus on autism spectrum disorders. She envisions serving individuals with disabilities—the world’s largest minority—through teaching, advocacy, and helping the most vulnerable communities access the services they deserve.

Embracing Connectedness with Ourselves and Each Other

Dave Prakash

In his talk, originally presented at the 2021 Tillman Honors, 2017 Tillman Scholar Dave Prakash reflects on the role that connectedness played in his journey to understand who he is — and the reasons why we all need to embrace finding connectedness with ourselves and each other.

Dave Prakash left a career as a doctor to join the Air Force as a pilot after 9/11. He served 13 years on active duty, becoming an operational test pilot and flight surgeon. Dave left the Air Force in 2017 and became a Tillman Scholar, attending Stanford University. He studied business management and public policy for 2 years. Today, Dave works on artificial intelligence and machine-learning technology in healthcare and on future aerospace systems. In his free time, Dave advises early-stage companies and serves on the board of WomenHeart. He mentors anyone that asks (and many who didn’t) and likes to explore unusual ideas.

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.

Our Sponsors & Partners

Without loyal support, our mission would go unfulfilled. Interested in supporting Tillman Honors? For sponsorship information, please contact our Development Team.

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