Former USMC serviceman Jarrod Romine earned a Tillman Scholarship, designed to support the education of military veterans and spouses.
By Haley Venglar ’19
After more than eight years of service in the United States Marine Corps, Jarrod Romine knew that he wanted to continue to serve his community. Thanks to being selected a 2017 Tillman Scholar, he has the platform necessary to accomplish his goals.
“Being named a Tillman Scholar is such a huge honor, but it’s also so much more than that,” said Romine. “I now have this amazing platform to share my story and all of the opportunities that are out there. I am very proud to receive this recognition for what I have been and continue to work towards.”
Tillman Scholars, as well as their parent organization the Pat Tillman Foundation, are named for former NFL player and philanthropist Pat Tillman who lost his life in 2004 while serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan. The foundation was established in his memory, and strives to carry on Tillman’s legacy by ensuring military veterans and spouses receive a quality education.
As someone who is constantly working to improve the environment around him, especially when it comes to veteran’s affairs, Romine embodies the qualities of a Tillman Scholar. He has had a major role in bringing the Warrior Scholar Program (WSP) to campus and making Texas A&M University one of only 15 colleges to offer this program.
“The WSP is a transition program for veterans who are leaving the military and are interested in pursuing higher education,” said Romine. “It’s important because it fights the stigmas of veterans being confined to things like trade schools post-military and instead focuses on the untapped potential in individuals that don’t even realize they can succeed in higher education.”
Outside the classroom, Romine’s involvement is equally impressive. He plays an active role on campus in both the Corps of Cadets and the Texas A&M Pre-Medical Society and works at the Veterans Resource and Support Center on campus.
Amazingly, Romine’s passion to give back to his community only continues from there.
“As a political science major and someone who was the executioner of foreign policy while I was in the military, I think I have a certain depth and experience that not everyone has,” said Romine. “I intend to use my skill set to pursue a medical degree with the hopes of either re-joining the military and working in front line emergency rooms, or working with organizations like the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders.”
Investing in the academic future of veterans is essentially an investment in society itself. For every dollar spent on GI Bill benefits, there was a $6.90 return to the economy, proving the value of educating veterans.
“The value of focusing on veteran’s education and their success in particular, is that society is reinvesting in itself,” said Romine. “I truly believe that a well-educated and successful veteran population is a national asset—economically, socially, and in the intellectual capital of the nation.”