Currently Onboarding into Program
Erin Scanlon is a retired Army Field Artillery Captain who served 5 years in the 82nd Airborne Division and 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Erin is a staunch policy advocate of the military, mental health, post-traumatic stress disorder, and military sexual assault victims. Erin has been an advocate at every level by helping others one on one, conducting trainings, advising law enforcement and military commanders, testifying to members of Congress, and even helping to inspire the recently passed Vanessa Guillen Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act.
Erin is originally from Scottsdale, Arizona and attended the University of Arizona where she completed ROTC and a Bachelor of Science in Family Studies and Human Development. She recently completed a Master of Policy Management at Georgetown University.
Working in: For Country Caucus
Michael is a native to New York’s Hudson Valley just north of New York City. Being both a son and grandson of Marine Corps veterans always instilled in him a sense of service and affinity towards public service. Michael would go on to attend Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh NY where he received a B.A in History and Political Science. During his undergraduate studies, he completed five separate political internships with the New York State Assembly, U.S Congress and U.S Senate. After receiving his bachelor’s degree Michael would go on to study at Swansea University in the United Kingdom where he would go on to receive a M.A in Politics. His master’s thesis while a student at Swansea was on U.S-Russian relations after the end of the Cold War.
After completing his graduate studies, Michael decided the time was right to pursue joining the Marine Corps. Michael would then apply and be accepted to attend Officer Candidates School or OCS and began his training in January 2019. After successfully completing OCS Michael was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps on March of 2019 and would go on to train at The Basic School (TBS). TBS is a lengthy course where junior officers are taught all the fundamentals of leadership and decision making that is expected of a Marine Corps Officer. After completing TBS Michael was given orders to South Korea where he would be the Assistant Operations Officer for Camp Mujuk, the only Marine Corps installation in South Korea.
Michael would be stationed in South Korea for a year. In his time there he would be one of the few Marine Officers in Korea and would participate in a variety of duties. He often worked as a representative of the Marine Corps to the South Korean military and made close connections to high-ranking South Korean military leaders. He would also organize and oversee multiple trips and projects for the Marine Corps in Korea such as VIP visits for Camp Mujuk and planning out trips for Marines throughout South Korea.
After leaving South Korea Michael would transfer to the Marine Corps Reserves where he is currently a platoon commander in Combat Logistics Battalion 25 in Red Bank, New Jersey. For the months prior to being accepted to the HillVets Fellowship Michael interned with The Korea Society in New York City where he helped with their efforts in strengthening ties with the U.S and peoples of Korea.
Michael looks forward to continuing his public service and representing those who served on Capitol Hill.
Working in Office of: Senator Bill Cassidy, MD
Benjamin is a Navy Veteran. His last assignment was at the Pentagon where he administered health services at the medical clinic. He focused on delivering detailed resources to staff members and patients to receive the best healthcare outcomes possible. The timing of his career started at his second year of college, during the terrorist attacks of 9/11, when he enlisted in the US Navy to serve as a Hospital Corpsman. Since then, he has provided lifesaving medical care for troops overseas and completed six deployments with the Navy and Marine Corps in support of multiple campaigns.
He has continuously worked in joint environments to provide leadership to both combatant commands and peacetime Medical Treatment Facilities. His focus was to implement policy and Regulations for patient care within the global Military Health System, Defense Health Agency, and the US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. Benjamin is trained in combat medical care and also has detailed knowledge in multiple levels of the healthcare system to get units medically ready for deployment to advocating on the diverse healthcare needs to support service members and beneficiaries at home.
His goal is to use these skills and continue public service to positively impact the lives of fellow Americans, Veterans, Active Duty service members, their families, and others. Over the years, he has found public policy and governance work done by elected officials to be deeply meaningful and influential to the lives of so many people. ‘How to be of service to others’ is a personal motto that has guided him throughout his life.
Benjamin grew up in the Ozark Mountains in Missouri and Arkansas with his mother, father, and 5 siblings. He has a BS in Healthcare Management and is pursuing a MBA with concentration in Healthcare Administration.
Working in Office of: Senator Mazie Hirono
Joy Craig is a retired Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer and current HillVets fellow working in the office of Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawai’i.
A native Californian, Joy lived in both southern and northern California before moving to Tucson, Arizona where she attended high school. It was during the summer between her sophomore and junior year that she was placed in the Arizona foster care system, a period that would shape her perspective as she enlisted in the Marine Corps at the age of eighteen.
Grateful for the opportunity to serve and the tight-knit community the Marines provided, Joy made a career of the military. After seventeen years as an enlisted Marine she was selected to the rank of warrant officer in a career field long dominated by men. Joy served her final five years with F/A-18 squadrons in Beaufort, South Carolina serving as an Ordnance Officer during two Western-Pacific deployments and numerous training exercises. In 2014 she retired after twenty-three years of active duty and was invited to join the board of directors for Dragonboat Beaufort, a 501(c)(3) charity that supports local area cancer patients with “the things insurance doesn’t cover.” There, Joy coached the competitive racing team for five winning seasons.
After learning firsthand the struggles transitioning veterans navigate when leaving active duty, Joy learned the value of the military-veteran community and how they were best poised to guide and deliver for their fellow veterans.
In 2017 she was selected as an inaugural writing fellow with The Warhorse.org where she wrote about her experiences in the Marines for the news site. Through that fellowship, Joy was exposed to a cohort of writers, activists and intellects, all military veterans or spouses, who encouraged her to join the movement. This was the catalyst that brought her to accept a position as the Community Outreach Officer for VetsLeaf LLC, a fully licensed, California-based, veteran-owned, and operated cannabis manufacturer. There she developed an ethics-based advocacy platform for the business while engaging with local and national cannabis advocates and policymakers working to see medical cannabis legalized at the Federal level.
Wanting to develop her grass roots activism into professional advocacy while answering the call to public service, Joy returned to higher education utilizing the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Education Program (VR&E) to study political science at the University of California, Riverside. She’s driven her post-retirement education and advocacy to further serving military veterans, the armed services and the American people.
Joy developed knowledge of the legislative process and policy shaping as a legislative intern with theHouse Committee on Veterans Affairs. Today her platforms include national security, the Departments of Defense, and Veterans’ Affairs. Joy’s legislative goals are to see an end to sexual assault in the military and lowering cannabis from the highest restrictions under the Controlled Substances Act.
Joy served as a Drill Instructor at Parris Island and is a former marathon runner. She’s a 2017 graduate of Leadership Beaufort, a 2019 Minority Veterans of America “Emerging Leader,” and a Member of Tau Sigma National Honor Society. She’s a writer, gardener, and mother of two outstanding daughters.
Working in Office of: Senator Kyrsten Sinema
Lisa enlisted in the Air Force and began working as a paralegal in the Judge Advocate General Corps. She worked courts-martial for the prosecution team. Her final assignment was as the non-commissioned officer in charge of military justice for the General Court-Martial Convening Authority at The Air Force Sustainment Center. She oversaw justice actions for Robins, Hill, and Tinker Air Force Base. Through her work, she knew she wanted to study law and advocate for others.
She looks forward to working on veteran and Afghan refugee policy issues with a congressional office. We are confident she will be an asset to the office that chooses her.
Inaugural HillVets-WWP Fellow
Working in: Wounded Warrior Project’s Office of Government Affairs
Previously: For County Caucus
Kirsten Laha-Walsh is a Navy veteran, caregiver, and currently pursuing her PhD in Social Work with a focus on the military and veteran connected populations. A native of San Diego, California, Kirsten is a third generation Navy veteran and the daughter of a retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CWO4). She is also the primary caregiver for her husband, a Purple Heart retired Marine. Kirsten’s experience in and around the military culture led her to pursue advocacy for transitioning veterans, including disenfranchised veterans, as well as caregivers. This led Kirsten to volunteering for the Alabama Head Injury Foundation, where she co-created a caregiver support program. She also currently serves on the Leadership Council for the Central Alabama Veterans Collaborative. Kirsten graduated in 2019 with her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Southern California, where she received a certificate in the Military and Veteran Program. Her current pursuits are aimed at providing education and knowledge around opioid and substance use within the veteran population as well as identity issues surrounding military service. Her dissertation focus is on how the act of a combat kill impacts the psyche of the military member and impacts their lives after service. She advocates for education and resource services for veterans about benefits and seeks to find ways to unite organizations to provide stronger methods of support.
Working in Office of: Senator Sherrod Brown
Will Sheehan hails from Bayonne, NJ – better known by the New Jersey native as the “Peninsula of Opportunity”. Will was a teenager living across the river from Manhattan when the Twin Towers fell. In one day, our entire country changed – and with it, so did the course of Will’s personal and professional life. As the country rebuilt in the years following 9/11, Will graduated from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, and served for nine years as a SEAL Team Intelligence Officer. During his service, Will gained experience serving in the highest levels of government – reporting directly to the President of the United States while deployed with Joint Special Operations Command in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
After resigning his commission, Will worked closely with several nonprofits drafting policy and conducting extensive outreach. Most recently, Will served as the Legislative Director for the New Jersey Veterans Network – the state’s largest Veterans nonprofit. Additionally, Will serves as a Member Advocate for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), working closely on legislative efforts to provide compensation for toxic exposure, increase healthcare for women veterans, and expand GI Bill Benefits.
We owe our veterans and their families a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. As a HillVets Fellow, Will looks forward to putting pen to paper on legislation that helps those who have given so much for our country.
Will currently resides in his hometown of Bayonne with his 10-year-old Australian Shepherd, “Mickey. Will believes in the power of Public Service, Marquess of Queensberry Rules, and Uncle Sam.
Currently Seeking Permanent Job
Matthew Philip Wee is originally from San Mateo, California. In 2000, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and attended Recruit Training in Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California, in July 2001. Upon graduation in October 2001, he attended follow-on training schools, including Marine Combat Training in Camp Pendleton, California, and Personnel Clerk’s course in Camp Johnson, North Carolina in November 2001. After graduation in January 2002, he transferred to Camp Pendleton, California, for service with Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division as a Personnel Clerk. While with the 1st Marine Division, he served as Camp Guard, deployed to Iraq in 2004, and supported over 1,000 Marines with training, pay, and personnel issues.
In May 2005, Matthew transferred to Headquarters Service Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California. During his time in San Diego, he supported over 1,000 Marines in travel and entitlements as a Personnel Specialist. Additionally, he performed over 200 Color Guard and Funeral events as part of the Depot Ceremonial Platoon. In May 2009, Matthew graduated from the Basic Security Guard school in Marine Corps Security Force Training Company, Chesapeake, Virginia, and transferred to the Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team Company Central Command, Marine Corps Security Force Regiment Manama, Bahrain in June 2009. While in Bahrain, he conducted, organized, and deployed Marines for training and worldwide operations to include the Bahrain Uprising in 2011.
In March 2012, he transferred to Marine Forces Europe, Stuttgart, Germany as an Assistant Personnel Program Coordinator. He supervised the travel section, processing pay and entitlements in support of the Georgian Deployment Program. Additionally, he received training in preparation for his next duty assignment. In May 2013, he transferred to the Office of Security Cooperation, United States Africa Command, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso as a Security Cooperation Administrative Specialist. He supported the Africa Command mission at this unit, where he managed foreign military sales cases, training programs, security-assistance programs, and security cooperation administration.
In May 2015, Matthew transferred to Marine Attack Squadron 542, Marine Aircraft Group 14, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina as an Administrative Supervisor. While with this unit, he supervised and coordinated all clerical and administrative support, including the Defense Travel System, Government Travel Charge Card, Mail Room, and administrative processes. Matthew also traveled to Japan and Norway. In June 2018, Matthew transferred to the International Affairs Branch, Headquarters Marine Corps, Pentagon, Washington, D. C. to serve as a Foreign Area Staff Non-Commissioned Officer in In-Training. He studied regional politics, history, culture, emerging security challenges, and sources of regional instability in the African region.
In May 2019, he transferred to Marine Corps Security Cooperation Group, Fort Story, Virginia as a Foreign Affairs Administrative Analyst. He provided professional language, regional expertise, and cultural capabilities within the Africa Command region. In May 2021, he started hiring our Heroes Skill Bridge program with My Sales Platoon, learning about the administrative business aspects. Additionally, he accepted an internship with the Hampton Roads Veteran Employment Center supporting services for transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses. Matthew recently transitioned from Active-Duty service to the Fleet Marine Corps Reserve after 20 years in the United States Marine Corps.
In July 2021, Matthew received the opportunity to begin the HillVets House Fellowship August 2021. Matthew possesses knowledge in Veteran Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Security Cooperation, and Security Assistance. An advocate for service members, their families, and veterans through multiple volunteer events. He earned his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of the People in 2021.