Two Texas A&M Student Veterans, One Military Spouse Named 2018 Tillman Scholars

Left to right: Lance Belobrajdic, Elijah Hernandez and Ambyr Rios were named to the 10th class of Tillman Scholars in recognition of their service, leadership and potential. (Pat Tillman Foundation)

Left to right: Lance Belobrajdic, Elijah Hernandez and Ambyr Rios were named to the 10th class of Tillman Scholars in recognition of their service, leadership and potential. (Pat Tillman Foundation)

By Sam Peshek, Texas A&M University Marketing & Communications

The Pat Tillman Foundation announced that two Texas A&M University student-veterans and one military spouse have been selected as 2018 Tillman Scholars.

Ambyr Rios, Elijah Hernandez and Lance Belobrajdic were named to the 10th class of Tillman Scholars in recognition of their service, leadership and potential, according to the Tillman Foundation.

“The 2018 Class of Tillman Scholars is a diverse, innovative group of leaders dedicated to making an impact in their chosen fields; from nursing practice and water conservation to business administration, public policy and beyond,” Tillman Foundation Board Chair and Co-Founder Marie Tillman said. “We are proud to support this newest class of Tillman Scholars, empowering them to make an impact in their own communities and around the world.”

This year’s class of scholars will receive more than $1.3 million in scholarship for their academic pursuits.

Ambyr Rios, military spouse, Ph.D., Curriculum & Instruction

After earning an English degree from Texas A&M in 2008, Rios moved to Baltimore, Maryland to teach ninth grade English. While teaching, she earned a Master of Arts degree in teaching at Johns Hopkins University and a Reading Specialist Certificate at George Washington University. With a goal of empowering future teachers to fight for the underserved, Ambyr will begin her next journey as a doctoral student within Texas A&M University’s Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture in 2018 while working as an Associate Director of Online Education.

Lance Belobrajdic, Air Force, B.S., Meteorology

Belobrajdic enlisted in the Air Force in 2006, and after three deployments during Operation Iraqi Freedom, he served in a new capacity with Air Force Special Operations as a Special Operations Weather Team (SOWT) technician. Motivated by his fieldwork in atmospheric and environmental sciences and his experiences providing assistance to disadvantaged communities, Lance separated from the military in 2016 to pursue academic ventures. He is pursuing degrees in meteorology and oceanography while actively serving with outreach programs to provide water purification in remote locations and severe weather reporting in the central United States. He continues to serve as a weather forecaster in the Texas Air National Guard.

Elijah Hernandez, Navy, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

Upon graduating from high school Hernandez enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he worked as a targeting analyst. After six years of active duty, Eli joined the Navy Reserve to continue serving while pursuing his education full-time. While working toward his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M in 2017, he was notified that he would be deploying to Kuwait and Iraq that summer and deferred his acceptance to the College of Veterinary Medicine. Once he returns from his current deployment, Eli will be pursuing a doctorate in veterinary medicine at TAMU so he can continue his service with the Army in the Veterinary Corps.

About the Pat Tillman Foundation

In 2002, Pat Tillman put his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals on hold to serve his country. Family and friends established the Pat Tillman Foundation following Pat’s death in April 2004 while serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan. Created to honor Pat’s legacy of leadership and service, the Pat Tillman Foundation invests in military veterans and their spouses through academic scholarships–building a diverse community of leaders committed to service to others.

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Media contact: Sam Peshek, 979-845-4680, sam.peshek@tamu.edu.


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