The Pat Tillman Foundation announced the 2023 Tillman Scholars on June 27. Frontier Nursing University (FNU) student Leslie Copp, RN, BSN, SANE-A, was one of the 60 U.S. service members, veterans, and military spouses chosen as 2023 Tillman Scholars. In recognition of their service and leadership potential, the newly selected class will receive scholarship funding to pursue higher education and continue their service in the fields of healthcare, business, law, public service, STEM, education and the humanities.
The Tillman Scholars program supports our nation’s active duty service members, veterans and military spouses by investing in them through education, lifelong leadership development, and a global community of high-performing peers and mentors to help them develop as leaders and make an impact at both a local and global scale. Copp’s husband, Justin, is a Sergeant First Class in the U.S. Army with 23 years of service, including two deployments, most recently in Kuwait in 2017.
“I just feel so honored,” said Copp, who learned of the Tillman Scholars program from FNU Assistant Professor and 2011 Tillman Scholar Dr. Joshua Faucett, DNP, MBA, FNP-BC, CNE. “I didn’t realize how important the Tillman Scholars program is until Dr. Faucett recommended that I apply because of the work I do currently. I have been very blessed to have him mentor me through the process.”
“The Pat Tillman Foundation forever changed the trajectory of my career path,” said Dr. Faucett. “Having listened to the incredible stories and accomplishments of fellow Scholars over the years, I knew Leslie’s journey to FNU and her future plans were compelling and unique. I simply encouraged Leslie to tell her story.”
Being a survivor of violence, Copp has made caring for others her lifelong passion. With 22 years of nursing experience, she currently works full-time as a forensic nurse examiner in Indianapolis. She is also pursuing her master’s degree as a family nurse practitioner at FNU and aims to achieve a dual degree as a doctor of nursing practice and psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner.
In her role as a forensic nurse examiner, Copp specializes in trauma care and frequently is called to testify in court. While trauma care centers are common in metropolitan areas, they are rare in rural areas, such as the one in which Copp lives. With the support of the Tillman Scholars program, Copp’s goal is to establish trauma care centers in rural and underserved communities, such as where she lives in Odon, Indiana.
“In these trauma centers, I’m hoping to not only be able to provide a medical exam, but I’m also hoping that it is a one-stop shop,” Copp said, noting that her vision is for the trauma care centers to include access to social workers, connections to prosecutors, and rooms for emergency housing. “We can eliminate so many things for law enforcement. They can have more time on the street doing what they need to be doing to keep the community safe while we’re doing the back work. We can take the photos, collect and bag the evidence and get it to the crime lab. There are a lot of benefits all the way around. I hope to see a huge stride in this in the next 10 years.”
“We are so proud of Leslie, not only because of her commitment to her studies at Frontier but also because of the essential work she is doing in her community,” said FNU President Dr. Susan Stone, DNSc, CNM, FACNM, FAAN. “Everything she is doing exemplifies our mission and shines a light on the healthcare disparities in rural, diverse, and underserved communities.”
“The Tillman Scholar is a prestigious program, and we are so proud of Leslie, who is the first FNU student to receive this honor,” said FNU Dean of Nursing Dr. Joan Slager, CNM, DNP, FACNM, FAAN. “We are so happy for her to have this opportunity. She is an inspiration for the entire Frontier Nursing community.”
About the Pat Tillman Foundation
The Pat Tillman Foundation identifies remarkable veterans and military spouses as the next generation of leaders and helps them scale their impact as they enter their next chapter of service beyond self through academic scholarships, lifelong leadership development, and a global community of peers and supporters. For more information on the Pat Tillman Foundation and the impact of the Tillman Scholars, visit pattillmanfoundation.org.
About Frontier Nursing University
The mission of Frontier Nursing University is to provide accessible nurse-midwifery and nurse practitioner education that integrates the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We transform healthcare by preparing innovative, ethical, compassionate, and entrepreneurial leaders to work with all people with an emphasis on rural and underserved communities. FNU offers graduate Nurse-Midwifery and Nurse-Practitioner distance education programs that can be pursued full- or part-time with the student’s home community serving as the classroom. Degrees and options offered include Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), or Post-Graduate Certificates. In 2021 and 2022, Frontier was named a “Great College to Work For” by the Great Colleges to Work For® program. To learn more about FNU and the programs and degrees offered, please visit Frontier.edu.