Rep. Gus Bilirakis
Ursula B. Palmer is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with more than 15 years of experience in project management, marketing, operations, policy and procedure. Skilled in several other areas of business management such as cross-functional team leadership, new process implementation and strategic planning. Her prior jobs include Program Manager for Links to Freedom, a non-profit that uses the game of golf as a rehabilitation tool for Wounded Warriors, Disabled Veterans and Gold Star Families; Director of Marketing for Auction Brokers, a real estate auction company; and Marketing Associate for United Way of Central Maryland. Ursula graduated Summa Cum Laude with a graduate degree in Communication Law, and Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in Communications. She also holds a Masters in Intercultural Communication.
Currently married to COL Timothy Palmer, Senior Resource Integrator in the Pentagon for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. She is the surviving spouse of SFC Collin J Bowen, a Maryland National Guard Soldier who died on 14 March, 2008 of wounds incurred in action while serving in Afghanistan. Ursula is the co-founder and Board Vice President of the Gold Star Wives, Arlington Chapter.
Ursula’s dedication and resiliency have positioned her as a strong leader among her peers, and was chosen in 2019 to have her story nationally televised during the National Memorial Day Concert (see segment here).
Rep. Chrissy Houlahan
After growing up in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, John enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2011. Following completion of recruit training at Parris Island and basic infantry school, he was assigned to Company K Third Battalion Fifth Marines where he spent the duration of his enlistment. During that time, he served on the battalion landing team of two marine expeditionary units deployed to the middle east and southeast Asia.
After completing his service, John enrolled at Colorado State University in Fort Collins where he pursued a bachelor’s degree in political science concentrating in environmental policy. With his remaining G.I. benefits, he received a master’s degree in public affairs from Brown University where his passions for environmental and energy issues were developed.
Rep. Kendra Horn
Conner Swett is a Marine Corps veteran, serving nine years on active duty and currently a member of the Marine Corps Reserves. As a military paralegal, he served the Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant of the Marine Corps and worked on modernizing SAPR in the Marine Corps. During a 3-year tour as an embassy security guard, Conner developed a great interest in foreign policy and national security. Upon leaving Active Duty, he attended the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, where he studied international security. Conner has since been with the U.S. Navy, managing the NICS Crime Reporting project.
When not reading or enjoying the outdoors, Conner volunteers with the local Capital Area Food Bank, The Mission Continues, a veteran-led organization; and on congressional outreach for Legacies of War, an advocacy organization working to address the impact of conflict in Laos during the Vietnam War. Conner has a Bachelor of Arts in Homeland Security from American Military University and a Master of Arts in International Security from the University of Denver, Josef Korbel School of International Studies.
Rep. Matt Gaetz
HillVets Foundation is excited to welcome our newest fellow, Andrew Ertl, to Washington, DC.
During his Marine Corps career, Andrew deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan before serving his final three years at US embassies abroad. It was there that his passion for policy and the role diplomacy plays in foreign affairs was ignited.
Following his Marine Corps service, Andrew then earned a phenomenal global education, first as a Columbia University undergraduate, where he was a member of the Ivy League’s largest student veteran organization and participant in selective, sponsored trips to Japan, Israel, and Kazakhstan; and then two international Master’s, first as a member of the second cohort of Schwarzman Scholars, where he participated in academic visits across China, to Mongolia, and Taiwan; and then from the University of Oxford.
Since leaving the Marine Corps, Andrew’s experiences and academic training have built upon his passion for foreign policy, and served to broaden his understanding of the global arena.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema
Nathan enlisted in the United States Army in 2010 as an artilleryman. Shortly after completing Basic Combat Training, he was awarded a scholarship to become an ROTC cadet while pursuing his education at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. During his time in ROTC, he continued to drill with an Artillery Battery in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. After graduating with a degree in Business Management he commissioned as an Army Intelligence Officer and served with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard for 9 years. During his time in Pennsylvania, he served as an Operations Officer, Platoon Leader, and Battalion Intelligence Officer. His final position was as an Executive Officer for a Military Intelligence Company that completed a National Training Center Rotation at Fort Irwin, CA. He was also selected to serve as a Plans Officer with the 28th Infantry Division in Pennsylvania, where he assisted in planning a multilateral training exercise in Germany with US Army Europe. In 2019, Nathan decided to transfer to the Army Reserves to join a unit that supports Defense Attaché Offices around the globe.
Nathan also served on Active Duty Operational Support orders from 2017 to 2019. During his first position he was selected by the 28th Infantry Division to serve as their Mobilization Liaison Officer stationed at National Guard Bureau in Arlington, VA. During his time at NGB, he assisted in coordinating logistical and administrative matters to ensure the successful deployment of the 28th Infantry Division. After the completion of this assignment, Lieutenant Pool was selected to serve as an Executive Officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency. During this assignment, he played an integral role in the achievements of the Community Coordination Office. His broad range of experiences with the United States Army, small businesses, and large corporations give Nathan a holistic view of policy issues in various settings.
When he is not working, Nathan enjoys outdoor sports, photography, traveling, and cooking. He currently resides with his wife, Victoria, in Silver Spring, MD.
Currently seeking placement
HillVets Foundation is excited to welcome our newest fellow, Andrea Cormier, to Washington, DC. During her eight years of service in the U.S Army, Andrea served in a variety of different positions from Logistics to Civil Affairs. As a Civil Affairs Officer, Andrea served two deployments at the U.S Embassy in Bamako, Mali where she was responsible for coordinating and synchronizing Special Operations activities with those of the State Department, USAID, and our African military partners. She looks forward to working on foreign policy issues, specifically Africa, with a Congressional office. We are confident she will be an asset to the office that brings her onboard.
Andrea is living in the DC area and is available to begin as a fellow ASAP! Please reach out to her directly if your office is interested in having a HillVets House Fellow.
Currently seeking placement
Originally from Coal City, Illinois, Luke enlisted in the Navy as an Aviation Electrician in 2008. The majority of his naval career was served in Japan, completing 12 deployments to regions including the South China Sea, Southeast Asia, and Australia. He was part of the first search and rescue operations during Operation Tomodachi, and completed a variety of other missions. While serving in the Navy, he graduated with highest honors from Post University with an associate’s degree in Accounting. He then graduated with distinction from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations.
A passionate advocate of education, labor, and veterans, Luke has assumed various roles of leadership in organizations such as Service to School, Student Veterans of America, and the Warrior-Scholar Project with the goal of empowering student-veterans at top academic institutions and ensuring they have the tools and resources needed to succeed. Being a recent student-veteran graduate, Luke brings extensive advocacy experience regarding student-veteran concerns at top academic institutions. Most recently, he advised Ivy League university administrators on student-veteran success and recruitment, leading to a significant increase in student-veterans at top academic institutions throughout the country.
In 2018, Luke was recognized for his veteran advocacy efforts by Student-Veterans of America as a Student-Veteran of the Year Finalist. He has experience on Capitol Hill as a Legislative Fellow for Senator Duckworth, where he advised the Senator in the areas of national defense, labor, higher education, civil rights, and veterans issues. He served as President of the Ivy League Veterans Council from 2017-2018. Luke eventually plans on continuing his studies by way of law school and a master’s degree in Public Administration.
Raghunath “Raghu” Rathore
Currently seeking placement
Raghunath “Raghu” Rathore grew up in Albany, New york. In 2013, Raghu enlisted in the Army National Guard. He served for six years, where he led soldiers in logistical supply missions in the State of New York during multiple natural disasters.
In 2017, Raghu attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. While attending college, he was also assigned to 1427 Transportation Company as a team leader. He then graduated from The Basic Leadership Course (BLC) in Camp Johnson, Vermont and from 2018-2019, Sgt Rathore worked in Quensbury, New York. During this time, he supported multiple humanitarian missions and assisted in helping to prevent locals’s houses in the Lake Ontario basin from being flooded. Upon graduating from RPI in 2019 with a BS in Business Management, he worked with a local small business to streamline its offerings, resulting in efficiency gains of five percent.
Currently, SGT serves in the US Army Reserves and is assigned to B Co. 5-159th General Support Aviation Battalion out of Fort Eustis, Virginia.
Raghu’s experiences in the military and working with small businesses, uniquely positions him to contribute to the needs of everyday, hard working Americans; in particular, policies involving small business, financial services, and veterans affairs.