University Communications | June 6, 2012

Brycen Bodell and Kent Martin join current UA Tillman Scholars Barrett Howell, Will McCracken, Brian Kolfage and Matt Randle.

Former Army Ranger Brycen Bodell will study at the UA College of Medicine and become either a congenital cardiothoracic surgeon or a pediatric orthopedic surgeon with the help of funding from the Pat Tillman Foundation.Kent Martin raised $500 from his troops to help bury a child who died in the Middle East from a curable disease. The effort was the start of the Manas Humanitarian Group, which he formed to assist impoverished families in the area. At the UA, Martin will pursue his goal of becoming a doctor to provide care for people in struggling communities.

The University of Arizona and the Pat Tillman Foundation are pleased to announce Brycen Bodell and Kent Martin as the newest Tillman Military Scholars selected for the 2012-13 academic year. 

The UA is one of 14 campuses serving as a Tillman Military Scholar University Partner for the 2012-13 academic year. University Partners are selected based on their innovative service member-specific support services and proven culture of community for military families.

As a university partner, each institution conducts outreach to its veteran and military spouse student population and actively participates in the Tillman Military Scholar selection process. Upon selection of Tillman Military Scholars on campus, the university supports the building of community among these students, strengthening their academic and personal experience.

Thanks to the feedback from UA student veterans, the UA VETS center and its campus partners have become a national model for student veteran services on a college campus.

The UA initiative incorporates student life, clubs and a resource center with direct services such as priority enrollment, specific academic courses and transition programs, disability resources, advocacy on a state and national level, and research-based recruitment and retention programs to aid veterans through graduation.

Bodell and Martin join current UA Tillman Military Scholars Barrett Howell, Will McCracken, Brian Kolfage and Matt Randle in the servicemember and military family educational support program.

In May 2001, Bodell didn't have money for college or a clear purpose for his life. But, he did have a dream: to become an Army Ranger. Bodell enlisted in the Army and graduated basic training just three days after Sept. 11, 2001. By November of that year, he was assigned to First Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, and he found himself immersed in the mountains of Afghanistan.

To increase the number of medically trained men in combat, he was assigned to emergency medical technician school with a handful of other rangers. Through his training and practical experience, he has discovered that he thrives in the operating room and has gained a special compassion for children, particularly those born with congenital anomalies.

At the UA College of Medicine, he will study to become either a congenital cardiothoracic surgeon or a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.

Martin joined the Air Force in 2000, and shortly after Sept.11, 2001, he was deployed to the Middle East. There, he came to know a host family whose youngest son fell ill.

In the U.S., it would have been an easily treatable illness, but in the Middle East, the illness proved fatal. The family had no money for a funeral, so Martin raised $500 from his troops in what became the start of the Manas Humanitarian Group, a program he formed to assist impoverished families in the area.

He will pursue his goal of becoming a doctor at the UA to provide care for people in struggling communities while serving the surrounding community as a student clinician at the Shubitz Family Clinic and other community clinics serving women and children.

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.

Military families face numerous challenges during the transition from military to civilian life and have unique needs that often prevent successfully completing a degree. 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. In providing this support, the Pat Tillman Foundation aims to remove obstacles that would otherwise prohibit academic success.

Over the past four years, the Pat Tillman Foundation has awarded more than $3.2 million in scholarship funds to 230 Tillman Military Scholars pursuing education at every level, from freshmen undergraduates to doctoral candidates. Overall, Tillman Military Scholars represent 71 different institutions across 34 states.

"We received 1280 applicants this year and, with support from our selection committee, narrowed these applicants down to 59 outstanding candidates to join the fourth class of Tillman Military Scholars," said Hunter I. Riley, director of programs at the Pat Tillman Foundation.

"These scholars represent leadership in the military, classroom and community, and we're proud to invest in their education and support them in making a positive impact into the future."

About the Pat Tillman Foundation

Family and friends established the Pat Tillman Foundation following Tillman's death in 2004 while serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan. Created to honor his legacy and pay tribute to his commitment to leadership and service, the Pat Tillman Foundation is a national leader in providing educational support and resources to veterans, active service members and their spouses.

Inspired by Tillman's attributes of leadership, passion for education and spirit of service, the foundation annually awards educational scholarships through the Tillman Military Scholars program. Since the foundation's inception, more than $5 million in educational support has been invested in individuals committed to a life of service both in an out of uniform, including more than $3.2 million awarded to 230 Tillman Military Scholars nationwide.

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