nursing schoolMarine Corps Sergeant Emily Thompson Schelberg has been selected by the National Football League as the 2012 NFL-Tillman Military Scholar for her leadership and service to the medical profession.

She will be recognized in Baltimore Sunday, November 11 before the Baltimore Ravens-Oakland Raiders game.

Thompson Schelberg, a native of Towson, MD, is pursuing her master’s at the John Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON) and hopes to follow the path of many of her family members who took careers in medicine or firefighting. While serving in the Marines, Thompson Schelberg was deployed to Iraq where she assisted a Navy Corpsmen on a humanitarian aid mission. She said it was that experience that uncovered her desire to work in healthcare. Schelberg says she was influenced by the impact that one well-trained medical professional can have on a population with limited access to basic health care.

Emily plans to become a nurse practitioner and hopes to serve underprivileged communities. She says her focus will be preventative, nutritional, orthopedic and sports medicine to help change a growing obesity epidemic. She hopes to bring about an improvement in patient health through preventative care in disadvantaged communities.

“Emily’s military experience and training opened her eyes to a career in healthcare,” said Marie Tillman, co-founder and president of the Pat Tillman Foundation. “She is an extremely strong and dedicated individual who will someday make a difference in the quality of life of her patients. It’s an honor to recognize her as this year’s NFL-Tillman Military Scholar.”

In June 2010, the NFL and Pat Tillman Foundation established the NFL-Tillman Military Scholar award to annually honor an individual who exemplifies Pat’s enduring legacy of service. The award is part of the Tillman Military Scholars program established by the Pat Tillman Foundation to support educational opportunities for veterans and active service members and their spouses by filling the financial gaps in the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. The Tillman Military Scholars program covers direct study-related expenses such as tuition and books, as well as other basic needs such as housing and childcare.

The National Football League will continue its long history of honoring veterans and active duty members of the military with its annual Salute to Service campaign, which begins on Thursday, November 1. For every point scored during the NFL’s 32 designated Salute to Service games, the league will donate $100 to each of its three core military non-profit partners – the Pat Tillman Foundation, USO and the Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). As a result of fundraising from this year's salute to service campaign, the NFL’s annual support of the Tillman Military Scholars program will continue to grow and help young men and women to pursue their degree program of choice.

“We congratulate Emily and are pleased to continue our support of the Pat Tillman Foundation," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "Pat Tillman's legacy will always be an important part of the NFL.”

Since the Foundation’s inception, the NFL and Arizona Cardinals have recognized Tillman’s heroic sacrifice for his country in a variety of ways that celebrate his memory. In 2004, the NFL donated $250,000 to the United Service Organizations to build a USO Center in memory of Tillman on Bagram Air Base. In addition, Arizona Cardinals’ Team President Michael Bidwill and Senior Advisor to the Commissioner Joe Browne are represented on the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Schelberg is the third Tillman Military Scholar to be honored by the NFL. Inaugural honoree, Army Staff Sgt. Patrick Nelson, has completed his bachelor’s degree in sports management and history from Minnesota State University and is an operations intern with the Minnesota Vikings. Last year’s honoree, Navy Petty Officer Third Class D’Onior Felton is in her final year of medical school at George Washington University and is applying for anesthesia residency programs.

Provided by the Pat Tillman Foundation