Three veterans attending the University of Arizona, along with the spouse of an Air Force member, have been named Tillman Military Scholars in honor of their years of service and academic and leadership potential.
Established to support military veterans and their spouses, the Tillman Military Scholars program helps cover tuition, fees, books, living costs and other expenses for veterans working toward undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Sixty students were chosen this year for the nationwide program and, with four students named, the UA has the hightest number of scholars in thesixth cohort.
"The Tillman Military Scholarship is not a gift; it is an investment in excellence and potential," Marie Tillman, president and co-founder of the Pat Tillman Foundation, said in a statement released this week.
"Pat lived his life with a passion for learning and action – he didn’t sit on the sidelines. The Tillman Military Scholars selected embody the same ideals that he lived by every day," Tillman said in her statement. "Through our mission, we are proud to support and empower these outstanding leaders as they pursue their educational goals and strive to impact significant, positive change for our country and communities after their military service."
More than 7,500 people applied for this year's scholarships, which are funded by the Pat Tillman Foundation. Since its founding in 2004, the organization has provided more than $10 million in support for service members, veterans and military spouses.
The UA recipients are:
- Kyle Brown, a graduate student in environmental health sciences, who served as a U.S. Army Ranger.
- Brandon Hammond, a third-year College of Medicine – Phoenix student, who served in the U.S. Navy.
- Sarah Severson-Hutchison, whose husband is a member of the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command Team. This fall, Severson-Hutchison will begin her fourth year in the medical program at UA College of Medicine – Tucson.
- Andrew Medburg, a first-year College of Medicine – Phoenix student beginning in the fall, who served with the U.S. Marines.
"All of our scholars, and specifically our new scholars, truly exemplify service above self," saidCody Nicholls, UA assistant dean of students for Veterans Education and Transition Services.
"Sara, Kyle, Andrew and Brandon embody the core values of the Pat Tillman Foundation," Nicholls said. "They reflect strength of character, a commitment to service, demonstrate extraordinary academic and leadership potential and a deep desire to impact change through their studies."
After earning his economics degree from the U.S. Naval Academy, Hammond served in the U.S. Navy. He served as a supply corps officer responsible for logistics, business and contract management from 2004 to 2012. During his service, Hammond was stationed aboard the USS Ronald Reagan and also in Kuwait and Washington, D.C.
Hammond, who has long wanted to pursue medical studies, said he was drawn to the UA for three reasons: its strong reputation for supporting student veterans, the research emphasis and the medical school's strong ties to community physicians, enabling immersive hands-on training.
"I spent quite a bit of time planning for and thinking about my decision to pursue medicine," Hammond said. His interest in serving as a physician, specifically in emergency and critical care medicine, relate back to his father's stroke, and years later, his mother's heart attack.
"I credit the emergency medicine doctors for saving both my parents," said Hammond, who aspires to participate in international humanitarian missions, as well as providing care in rural communities.
Brown, who served with the 2nd Ranger Battalion with the U.S. Army's 75th Ranger Regiment as an infantryman from 2005 to 2009, was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan four times.
"When I enlisted, I became part of a community, and this service to others, and society as a whole, made a huge difference in my life and changed me for the better," said Brown, a new UA graduate, having earned his bachelor's degree in environmental sciences.
While completing his graduate studies, Brown would like to help improve quality of life and life expectancy in communities around the world and hopes to study infectious diseases and environmental health.
"The Tillman scholarship embodies continued service to others through academic education," Brown said. "That's what being a Tillman scholar means to me."