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Committed to Service

Social Work’s Benetta Dousuah Among 3 Student Veterans Honored as Tillman Scholars
Benetta Dousuah portrait
Benetta Dousuah was named a 2024 Tillman Scholar as one of the next generation of public and private sector leaders committed to service beyond self.

Social Work student Benetta Dousuah G’25 is one of three talented and passionate Pat Tillman Foundation Syracuse University 2024 Tillman Scholars.

The award unites and empowers remarkable military service members, veterans, and spouses as the next generation of public and private sector leaders committed to service beyond self. Dousuah was selected out of nearly 1,600 applicants.

Tillman Scholars are provided with academic scholarships, leadership development opportunities, and access to a supportive national network as they embark on career journeys in the fields of health care, public service, business, STEM, law, the humanities, and education.

The fellowship program honors Pat Tillman, a starting safety for the National Football League’s Arizona Cardinals, who in 2002 put his football career on hold to serve his country with the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan. Tillman’s family and friends established the Pat Tillman Foundation following his death in April 2004.

Syracuse University was invited to become a Pat Tillman Foundation University Partner in 2017. To date, the university has seen 13 students honored as Tillman Scholars.

Dousuah sat down with SU News to discuss why she wanted to become a Tillman Scholar, reflect on the prestigious honor, and share how she will use the scholarship to make a difference in her community.

Benetta Dousuah G’25, U.S. Army

Academic major: Social Work

What drew you to study at Syracuse University?

“I chose Syracuse University because it’s known for being a veteran-friendly school. While transitioning out of the military, I visited and was impressed by how much they support student veterans. The National Veterans Resource Center at the Daniel and Gayle D’Aniello Building showed me how much the school cares about their veteran community.”

Where did your interest and passion for your field of study come from?

“My aim is to challenge and transform the existing stigma surrounding mental health and well-being in the military. My goal is to become a social worker and serve as Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) representative at a behavioral health clinic on a military installation, particularly regarding sexual assault and harassment. This position will allow me to address significant issues related to mental health and advocate for policy changes within the SHARP program.”

How does it feel to be recognized as a Tillman Scholar?

“It’s an honor to be surrounded by people dedicated to making a difference in our military. My passion is to change how investigations are done in the SHARP program. I am excited to bring this idea to other scholars and see what the future holds.”

What motivated you to apply to be a Tillman Scholar, and why do you think you were selected?

“Pat’s story is incredible. It demonstrates selfless service and leadership, two of the Army’s core values. As a Tillman Scholar, I am honored to carry on Pat Tillman’s legacy. I’m inspired by these exceptional individuals who are making a difference. I was chosen as a Tillman Scholar because of my dedication to making a positive impact. Despite facing a traumatic experience, my goal is to reform the system that failed me, ensuring a safer military for future generations.”

How do you plan to use this scholarship and this experience to make an impact in your community?

“I aim to use the education and experiences from Syracuse University and the Tillman Scholar program to advocate for significant policy changes, specifically to reform the investigative process within the SHARP program.”

Read the full story.

Excerpts from a Syracuse University News story by John Boccacino originally published on June 27, 2024.