BUIES CREEK — Second-year medical student Erasmo "Mo" Espino attended the Pat Tillman Leadership Summit in Chicago last month before a short military deployment with the intent to return in time for his second year of medical school to begin on Aug. 4.
Espino said he encourages Campbell and CUSOM veterans or spouses to pursue this scholarship. "It is a competitive scholarship, but is more than just a scholarship — it’s a family.
Espino represented CUSOM among 57 new Tillman Military Scholars selected in May from more than 7,500 applicants from some of the best schools in the nation including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Stanford, Duke and Johns Hopkins. He is the nation’s second D.O. student ever to receive the scholarship.
"I felt very proud to bring Campbell University and Osteopathic Medicine to the Pat Tillman community,” Espino said. “The scholars chosen are definitely in an elite group — this is not a scholarship about grades or what school you got into, it is about your past, your experience, service, potential, willingness to continue to serve and more importantly humility."
The summit gathered Tillman Military Scholars from diverse branches, backgrounds and areas of study to collaborate in their chosen areas of impact and continued service. The weekend featured a special keynote on leadership from “Good to Great author” Jim Collins, panels and peer workshops for scholars who are pursuing careers in medicine, law, business, government, technology and the arts.
The discussions focused on how to elevate one’s status from a good student to a great leader who can maximize their potential for their country and communities. Scholars met Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Bears owner Virginia McCaskey and business and nonprofit leaders who support the Pat Tillman Foundation. Scholars also participated in a community service project sponsored by Gateway Green and the Chicago Bears to improve the conservation area around the local V.A. hospital.
For the finale of the summit, 10 scholars, including Espino, walked onto Wrigley Field during a packed Cubs game where they received a standing ovation from the entire stadium.
"You don't know how extremely humbling this entire experience was, and I hope to see more of our student veterans apply for this amazing opportunity,” Espino said. “It really helped put things in perspective for me. It’s not just about being successful, making money, living well ... there is more to life than that. I was chosen for a reason, so how can I use my experience and the opportunities I have been blessed to have received to impact others? I haven't quite figured that out yet, but am excited to begin on that journey.”
The next application cycle to become a Tillman Military Scholar will open in February at http://www.pattillmanfoundation.org/scholarship.