Katie Piston is the spouse of Navy Veteran Daniel Piston, but her connections to the military began long before she met her husband. She grew up outside of Chicago, IL and is the proud granddaughter of a WWII Veteran. While earning her bachelors in biomedical engineering at Purdue University she worked on designs of smart military helmets. After graduating from Purdue, Piston moved to Syracuse NY where she worked for 6 years in the medical device industry.

During that time she witnessed thousands of procedures at the Syracuse VA hospital and has always been inspired by the men and women of our military. This inspiration led her to enroll as a bioengineering Ph.D. student at Syracuse University where she is currently a teaching assistant, mentor, student, and researcher. She is a passionate educator and her favorite moments at Syracuse have been working with undergraduate and high school students. This past summer she mentored 8 engineering undergraduates and two high school students who aspire to change the world themselves someday. Upon graduation, she plans to pursue a career in academia as an educator of young learners and a researcher seeking to make a measurable impact on the health of our nations Veterans and all citizens.

Katie’s proudest moment as a military spouse is supporting her husband as he transitioned from Sailor to civilian. This often overlooked transition can be a challenging time in the lives of those who have served our country as they must seek a new path to service and identity outside of the military. With her support and guidance, her husband was able to earn not just one but two degrees from Syracuse University and currently works at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families.

Katie Piston is one of only 60 nationwide recipients to receive the Pat Tillman Scholarship. Pat Tillman was a passionate athlete, lifelong learner, and citizen who had an unmatched internal drive to make a difference in the world. Combining her respect for the military and passion for making the world a better place, Katie strives to honor Pat’s legacy of impact, service, and humble leadership throughout her career. She is proud to be a Tillman Scholar, proud to be a military spouse and proud to bleed orange.