A photo of Cassie Bronson and Safi Rauf
News Story

Two NHS Students Selected as Scholars by Pat Tillman Foundation

June 12, 2020 – Cassie Bronson (G’22), a student in the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program and U.S. Navy veteran, and Safi Rauf (NHS’21), a human science major and U.S. Navy reservist, have been selected as scholars by the Pat Tillman Foundation, the organization announced today.

The foundation honors the memory of Pat Tillman, who served in the U.S. Army and was killed in Afghanistan. (Read more about Tillman.) The foundation’s “mission is to unite and empower remarkable military service members, veterans and spouses as the next generation of public and private sector leaders committed to service beyond self.”

Bronson and Rauf were named along with U.S. Coast Guard veteran Melissa McCafferty (Law/SSP’23). It has been eight years since Georgetown had three scholars, which is the most the university can be awarded through its partnership with the foundation. (Read the Law Center story about McCafferty.)

‘Dedication and Perseverance’

“Our scholars have a proven track record of dedication and perseverance,” according to the foundation. “They believe their best years of service are still ahead of them. Tillman Scholars are committed to strengthening communities at home and around the world.”

Cassie Bronson in uniform of U.S. Navy in front of U.S. flag
Cassie Bronson (G’20)

“I am excited to see Safi, Cassie, and Melissa recognized as a part of the 2020 Tillman Scholars class,” said LeNaya Hezel, director of Georgetown’s Veterans Office. 

“All three students embody Pat Tillman’s legacy with their commitment to service, leadership, and making a lasting community impact. These are all traits that align with the Jesuit values and seeing these students recognized for living out Georgetown University’s mission deserves highlighted praise,” she said. 

Cura Personalis

Bronson said she loved serving in the Navy, where she “learned how to be a nurse and a leader.” 

“I was able to work with people from all over the world with all the joys and challenges that brings,” she said. “My humanitarian efforts aboard the U.S.S. Boxer were some of the best times I had during my service.”

The mission and values of the School of Nursing & Health Studies attracted her to the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program.  

“One of the values . . . is cura personalis, or care of the whole person,” Bronson said. “I want to take this idea of care for the whole person and apply it to women veterans across generations. There are more women veterans today than ever before in history, and they need specialized providers that can care for their whole person – emotional, physical, spiritual, and psychological.” 

She added: “As a Tillman Scholar, I can use the network to pursue this vision and help develop practices that embrace wellness and not just disease. This will improve the quality of life for our women veterans throughout the lifespan.”

Diversity in Health Care

Rauf recently returned from deployment to New York City to help address the COVID-19 pandemic. (See related story.)  

Safi Rauf (NHS’21)

“Receiving a scholarship that celebrates the memory of an American hero is an incredible honor,” he said, noting he looks forward to learning from other distinguished Tillman Scholars. “I am so grateful to the faculty and students at Georgetown and my loved ones who helped me achieve this goal.” 

Rauf noted that he wants to assist “minority students and students of socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds in pursuit of higher education regardless of financial challenges.”

“As a Tillman Scholar, I seek to diversify the health care field and emphasize the importance of multilingual health care providers. Multilingual clinicians can understand the needs of patients that do not speak English and can provide much-needed health care to often underserved communities.”

‘Service, Integrity, and Leadership’

Bronson echoed Rauf’s sense of honor in terms of being selected as a Tillman Scholar.

“I am humbled and honored to join the Tillman Scholars,” she said. “The legacy of Pat Tillman is one of service, integrity, and leadership. To be told that I embody those characteristics and be given a platform in which I can grow is amazing.”

Georgetown is providing a place for that growth, she said, noting, “I am learning how to be a better leader, visionary, as well as a future nurse practitioner.”

Rauf said that his involvement in and coming term as president of the Georgetown University Student Veterans Association has allowed him to find a community that brings together his military service and education.“My tenure taught me how to create a small but meaningful impact on campus and in my local community by either helping military-connected students transition to Georgetown or coalescing student veterans to volunteer in our local area,” he said. “I encourage anyone who needs assistance or a confidant to reach out to me or attend one of our networking events.”