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Ohio State social work student named Tillman Military Scholar

An Ohio State University undergraduate and U.S. Marine Corps veteran has been named a 2020 Tillman Military Scholar. Tom Wike is a senior working toward an undergraduate degree in social work with plans to earn a master’s degree. He is one of 60 scholars selected from thousands of applicants by the Pat Tillman Foundation for the prestigious award.

In recognition of their service and leadership potential, the new class of Tillman Scholars 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.

In naming Wike to the new class of scholars, the foundation noted, “Tom enlisted in the Marine Corps to join something bigger than himself and defend a nation at war. Upon completing his degrees, he will advocate for change at both the state and federal levels of government. Tom would also like to eventually work as a clinician at his local Veterans Affairs Vet Center and use his skillset abroad as a foreign service officer with the United States Agency for International Development.”

“Service to others is the foundation of my purpose,” said Wike. “As a social worker, I will improve the lives of the common people.”

At Ohio State, Wike is part of Ohio State’s Veteran Community Advocate Program, which matches veteran students with fellow veterans to help them make the transition from military life to student life.

Wike says he chose to be part of the Community Advocate program to help others succeed. “I struggled with my transition from military to civilian to college student. To have a successful transition we must help veterans find their new purpose in life and a tribe that they can belong to. This will stop them from isolating themselves and allow them to achieve their future goals.”

A native of Ashland, Ohio, Wike served in the Marine Corps for four years. He deployed once to Afghanistan and spent the rest of his contract in Japan, North Carolina, California and South Korea and was honorably discharged in June 2015.  

Wike is Ohio State’s eighth Tillman Scholar since the university became a Pat Tillman Foundation university partner in 2014.

More than 1,800 military and veteran students and their family members are enrolled at Ohio State. Ohio State’s Office of Military and Veterans Services assists students with educational and academic resources. The office provides military and veteran orientations, focused academic counseling, tailored support services and the education of faculty and staff on military student issues. The Tillman Scholarship Program at Ohio State is a joint effort between the Office of Military and Veteran Student Services and the Honors and Scholars Center, which assists students in applying for the award and manages the processing

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