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Nine students selected as newest cohort of Bass Military Scholars

by Aug. 27, 2020, 10:30 AM

photo of Susan Wente and Mandi Mizner in a U.S. Army medevac tent
Susan R. Wente, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, and Mandi Mizner, a Bass Scholar in the School of Nursing, tour a medevac exhibition on Library Lawn during Veterans Day 2019. Mizner is a former medevac helicopter pilot in the Tennessee Army National Guard. (Anne Rayner/Vanderbilt University)

Vanderbilt University’s Bass Military Scholars Program welcomed its second cohort of scholars to campus this August. Among the nine U.S. military veterans, who are pursuing graduate and professional degrees across several Vanderbilt schools, are a former Army Ranger who served in combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, a Naval Academy graduate who flew jet fighter combat missions from an aircraft carrier, and two of the first female officers to serve in previously all-male Army field artillery units.

“This year we had an incredible response from veterans applying to our program,” said retired Lt. Gen. Gary H. Cheek, director of the Bass Military Scholars Program. “The scholars in this new cohort chose Vanderbilt not only for the outstanding education but also for the emphasis our program places on leadership, strong moral character and mission focus—values they gained through their experiences serving our nation and that benefit the wider university community.”

The newest Bass Scholars are:

  • Jake Epstein, former Army Ranger noncommissioned officer and current student at Vanderbilt Law School,
  • Amy Herink, former Army field artillery officer and current student at the School of Nursing,
  • Aaron Jones, former Army Special Forces medic noncommissioned officer and current student at the School of Nursing,
  • Caitlin Jones, BA’13, former Army medical service officer and current student at the School of Nursing,
  • Evan Kowalski, former Army logistics officer and current student at Vanderbilt Law School,
  • Tyler LaChance, BA’13, former Army field artillery officer and current student at Owen Graduate School of Management,
  • Hunter Parden, former Navy aviator and Air National Guard officer, who flew F-18 and KC-135 aircraft, and current student at Owen Graduate School of Management,
  • Karen Parham, former Army field artillery officer and current student at the School of Nursing,
  • Joe Payne, former Army infantry officer and current student at Owen Graduate School of Management.

Established in 2018, the Bass Military Scholars Program supports up to 40 scholarships and programming for honorably discharged military veterans pursuing graduate and professional degrees at Vanderbilt Law School, Owen Graduate School of Management, Peabody College of education and human development, the School of Medicine, and the School of Nursing. The program currently awards each recipient $25,000 per year toward general education expenses.

In addition to their studies, the Bass Scholars meet regularly as a group and collaborate on projects across their various schools throughout the academic year. Those projects include a range of campus service activities designed to foster military-civilian exchanges and mentorship opportunities within the broader Vanderbilt community.

To learn more about the Bass Military Scholars Program, visit vu.edu/bass-scholars.

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