Kate Tillotson is the daughter of Army veteran whose family laid roots in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2005. Shortly after graduating from Will Rogers High School in 2007, Kate enlisted in the United States Marine Corps as a Field Radio Operator. Deploying to Iraq in 2009, Kate was selected to be part of the Marine Corps Lioness Program. The Lioness Program was developed to counter insurgents using women to smuggle contraband and to act as suicide bombers. Kate was attached to 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division Headquarters Company providing culturally-sensitive searches on Iraqi women at various checkpoints at Camp Baharia, the Fallujah detention center, and Ameriyah-Ferris.
In 2011, Kate transitioned from the Marine Corps into higher education and in 2016 Kate was elected president of the TU Student Veteran Association at The University of Tulsa. Within six months under her leadership, the organization transformed from a small unknown student group into the most powerful student organization on campus and one of the top five student veteran organizations in the United States. Her award winning Vet Center Initiative grant submission led to the creation of the TU Veteran House, the first 24 hour multi-purpose resource center for student veterans in Tulsa. Kate worked closely with President of The University of Tulsa, Dr. Gerard Clancy, who credited her with being “instrumental in The University of Tulsa being awarded a private gift of $5,000,000 to establish an endowment fully dedicated to supporting our veterans.”
In January of 2017, Kate was awarded Student Veteran of the Year from Student Veterans of America, selected from student veteran across 1,500 colleges across the nation for her work at The University of Tulsa. She was awarded as a Hill Vets 100 Honoree that same year as a top contributor to military-connected empowerment across the nation. In July of 2017 she was selected as a Veterans in Global Leadership Fellow, a prestigious fellowship with students from the nation’s top ivy league schools to include Yale, Harvard, and Dartmouth. In Oklahoma, Kate serves as a Policy Liaison for Student Veterans of America to help educate local and national stakeholders and legislators about veterans in higher education and issues affecting military connected students.
Kate is passionate about how the military connected community impacts both higher education and the economic development of cities in which they reside. After graduating from The University of Tulsa, Kate has aspirations to work in local, state, or federal government.. Having graduated The University of Tulsa, she plans to transition to graduate level study while working full time. Her passion for community stems from her Oklahoma roots in Tulsa, a city that embraces bipartisanship and the notion of paying it forward. Kate continues to empower Tulsa’s military connected community in her role as Mayor’s Fellow and Veteran Advocate for Mayor G.T. Bynum in Tulsa, Oklahoma.