Army veteran named Tillman Military Scholar
Casaundra Wallace, an undergraduate student in the School of Letters of and Science at Arizona State University, has been selected as a Tillman Military Scholar for the 2012-2013 academic year.
In 2008, the Pat Tillman Foundation established the Tillman Military Scholars program to support educational opportunities for servicemembers and military families by bridging the financial gaps left by the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. As a result, Tillman Military Scholars receive financial support to not only cover traditional study-related expenses such as tuition and books, but also other needs, including but not limited to: housing, transportation and childcare.
“I cried a little when I found out that I was chosen a Military Scholar. It means a lot to me and it is great to be a part of group that does so much for veterans,” said Wallace.
An Arizona native, Wallace knew from an early age that she wanted become a solider. She recalls watching scenes from the first Gulf War on TV as a ten year-old and being fascinated by the selflessness and dedication displayed by the men and women in combat.
“I was so impressed by these people, and that they went overseas to help people they had never met and had nothing in common with. I decide it was something I wanted to do,” she said.
After graduating high school in 1999, Wallace enlisted in the Army and made her dream come true. She served four and a half years when she made the tough decision to retire from service. And although she enjoyed her time in the military, she has enjoyed the opportunities that have arisen from being a veteran even more.
“Being a part of the Army is to be a part of an enormous family. Now, to be out of the military and to be a veteran means being a part of an even bigger family,” Wallace explains. “Being a veteran and giving back the veteran community is the coolest thing ever.”
One way that she is able give back is by assisting veterans through their educational benefits in the Pat Tillman Veteran Center. An advocate for education, Wallace says that veterans already have the tools to be successful in college because of their natural drive and responsibility.
As a non-traditional student herself, Wallace says her three children motivate her forge through the struggles of balancing work, school and home life. They also enjoy that their mom can relate to the woes of homework.
“Having my kids pushes me to do that much more because I can prove to them that ‘I’ve done all of this and you can too’,” she said.
Wallace will be studying at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in the fall. She is considering focusing her studies in the public policy arena on either environmental law or Indian law.
One thing is clear though – her future is bright and possibilities are endless.