Tillman Scholars in the News

Blog | 01/29/2021

Tillman Scholars are always making an impact in their communities. Just a month into 2021, we’re extremely proud of these scholars who have made waves. Read on to see how they continue to lead through action.

Chelsea Gerlicki, 2019 Tillman Scholar

Chelsea Gerlicki was given the M.C. Overton, M.D. Physician in Training Award by the Lubbock County Medical Society for the dedication and selfless service she provided last year with the PPE Task Force, getting PPE into the hands of her community. Chelsea co-chairs the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Task Force and her task force has helped put more than 5 million pieces of PPE into the hands of her community, continuing to protect vulnerable healthcare professionals while allowing medical students to be on the frontlines of service .

Chelsea is a Navy veteran. and after her service, she pursued a degree in medicine. During her time in undergrad, she spearheaded local health outreach in colonias, economically disadvantaged communities along the Mexican-United STates border.

Shannon Ewing-Sudds, 2020 Tillman Scholar

Inspired by the Vanessa Guillen case, Shannon Ewing-Sudds conducted a month-long virtual Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) walk to raise awareness of sexual harassment and assault in the military. Participants walked, ran, biked and hiked in support of survivors of sexual assault, with a goal of reaching 7,825 miles — 1 mile for every survivor that was reported from the Department of Defense’s 2019 report. Participants included people from all over the U.S. and beyond—even soldiers deployed to Kuwait participated. Shannon surpassed her goal with a total of 165,868.24 miles (that’s 21 miles per survivor). See the progress here.

Shannon has served more than 20 years in Army and is currently serving at her ninth assignment as the sexual assault response coordinator for the Army’s SHARP Program for 1st Brigade, United States Army Cadet Command.

Daris McInnis, 2020 Tillman Scholar

Daris McInnis recently wrote “The Educators Playbook: 14 Activities for Building Literacy at Home,” published by the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.

After his Army service, Daris transitioned to work on a school turnaround in the inaugural New Orleans Education Pioneers Fellowship. In 2014, Daris earned a teaching certification and became an early childhood teacher in Washington, D.C. Daris was also recognized for his determination to transform education and was invited to personally meet Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton as he was sworn in as an Americorps service member at the Americorps 20th Anniversary.

Daris currently studies reading, writing and literacy at Penn Graduate School of Education.

Tom Baker, 2018 Tillman Scholar

Tom Baker released a podcast regarding the future of policing derived from his own experience.

After completing his enlistment in the Army, Tom worked as a police officer for almost nine years. Tom feels that the use of force by law enforcement officers is one of the most pressing public issues of our time. In recent years, several cities across the United States have experienced civil unrest and violence in the aftermath of controversial police shootings. As the public and policy makers grapple with this issue, high quality research will be necessary for them to make informed decisions. Tom is dedicated to contributing to this body of research as both a Ph.D. student and, eventually, as a university professor.

Katie Piston, 2018 Tillman Scholar

Katie Piston won first place out of 17 competitors in a research pitch competition for her pitch, “Flipping the Cancer Gene On and Off.” This was an invited competition where local engineering and computer science departments could nominate up to two graduate students. At the same event, she also won best poster in the biomedical and chemical engineering department.

Katie is now pursuing doctoral studies at Syracuse University to ensure they and others live the healthiest lives possible. As a doctoral student in biomedical engineering, she is part of a team researching nanocarriers to deliver lifesaving medications to patients with neurodegenerative diseases and infected wounds.

James Hentig, 2020 Tillman Scholar

James Hentig was named Notre Dame’s 2020 3-Minute Thesis (3MT) winner. The Shaheen 3MT is a communication competition where graduate students from the colleges of engineering, science, and arts & letters as well as the Keough School of Global Affairseffectively explain their research  in three minutes or less.

James is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Notre Dame, where he has developed a novel blunt-force traumatic brain injury 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.

Matt Miclette, 2016 Tillman Scholar

Matt Miclette was featured on the seventh installment of the Pennsylvania PBS program Battling Opioids. Matt has worked on several opioid policy initiatives as a psychiatric and mental health board-certified registered nurse.

Matt began his Army career serving at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He often received patients within five days of their initial injuries, most from Afghanistan, and witnessed up close the tragedy of war. Of the five quadruple amputee patients injured during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, three have been his patients.

Now, Matt is the executive director of Action Tank and the director of clinical operations at NeuroFlow, a digital health company developing mental health and substance use disorder solutions for the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.