SUMMER CLASS OF 2017
Dog Tag Inc. fellows represent a sample of the talent and drive that exists in the veteran community. We hope that our program in Washington, DC will be replicated in major cities throughout the US; allowing these programs to serve as incubators for employment and small business development.
Interested in applying? The application for our January 2018 fellowship program is live, apply here!
Deadline: October 18
Eligibility: Post 9/11 service-disabled veteran, military spouse, caregiver.
Born in 1981 in north eastern Pennsylvania, Anne was adopted by her parents, Mary and John Barlieb who raised her in Tobyhanna, PA. As a child, Anne was active in sports, arts, music, and the community. She was a member of the Coolbaugh Township Volunteer Fire Company and a parishioner at St. Ann's Catholic Church where she played the flute regularly for services and special occasions. As a college student, Anne worked at Tobyhanna Army Depot as an office clerk for the directorates of avionics and satellite communications.
While in college at Marywood University, Anne also participated in ROTC at the University of Scranton and completed airborne school in 2001. In 2005, Anne received her bachelor's and master's degrees concurrently in criminal justice and public administration respectively. Upon graduation and commissioning, Anne attended flight school where she learned to fly the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, the Army's scout/attack platform. She deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom for 18 months in 2007-2008 with the 4-6 Air Cavalry Squadron (ACS). While in Iraq, as a platoon leader and air mission commander, Anne flew close air support missions and provided convoy security in Northern Iraq, Mosul and Talafar.
In 2009, Anne branch transferred to Psychological Operations (PSYOPS) with her then husband and fellow Army Officer. The couple had been married for 5 years but hadn't seen each other because of the war and opposite deployment cycles. Shortly after their branch transfer and co-location at Ft. Bragg, the marriage dissolved. Anne then deployed to Qatar in support of operation New Dawn for 8 months. Upon her return and after a long diagnostic process, Anne was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor and underwent brain surgery in 2011. In 2014, Anne graduated the Command and General Staff College (CGSC) in Ft. Leavenworth, KS. While there, her health deteriorated again with complex symptoms. In January 2015, Anne attempted suicide and was MEDEVACd to Walter Reed where doctors diagnosed multiple medical conditions including the recurrence of her pituitary tumor and nerve damage.
Anne is currently going through the medical board process and is anticipating a medical retirement sometime in 2017. In the meantime, Anne has dedicated much of her time to mentoring service members, veterans, and family members with her experience-based approach to complex medical issues, PTSD, family dynamics, suicide, and non-combat related trauma. Upon retirement, Anne plans to focus on medical board reform, service member advocacy, writing and publishing books, inspirational speaking and listening, community building, and raising bees. In her 13 years of service, Anne received the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Parachutist Badge, Aviator Badge, and Combat Action Badge. Anne is using her time at Dog Tag, Inc. to learn about the entrepreneurial options for her future.
Mojisola Edu, also known as Lush, is an individual with a vision, the voice of the people, a disabled US Army Veteran, and a force to be reckoned with. With 18 years in the entertainment and media industry, she is an award-winning internet Radio Personality. Lush is the go-to person for contracts, Public Relations (PR), and anything dealing with branding. She is a PR specialist, Artist Manager, Multi-media specialist, celebrity photographer, videographer, and consultant. She has interacted with and interviewed various celebrities including NFL players, artists, and actors.
Born in OYO State Nigeria and raised in Queens, NY, Lush is passionate about many projects in a traditionally male dominated industry. At the age of 27, she founded her very own online radio station entitled LUSH RADIO ONLINE.
Inspired to provide an outlet for women of today, Lush created the STREET QUEENZ THE MOVEMENT (THE SISTAHOOD) panel to appear on the show which consists of five additional ladies who are all established in the industry in various ways. The show covers serious topics such as politics, self-esteem, diseases, sex, the economy, and is a place where panelists support each other’s ambitions.
Also, as the CEO for Diverse Media Group, LLC, a multimedia marketing and consulting company, Lush continues her promotional ventures by hosting mix-tapes, parties, and events as well as interviewing aspiring and established artists on her weekly radio show. She is also a motivational speaker. She has spoken in the school system as a teacher and mentor. She has spoken in churches in the PG County area. She spoke at the women in the industry “relationship panel” on how to balance family and the industry.
Lush continues to change the world one day at a time by the double E method (Educating and Entertaining). Lush is the Winner of 2014 Social media / Radio personality award at The Female hip hop honors in LA and she also received an award and recognition from Black WallStreet. She received recognition from the Attorney General of Maryland for her work with the community in 2014. In 2016 she received another Black Wall street award for her continued work in the media community. She was presented with the Beacon of Light award by the CEO of Women veterans interactive Ginger Miller, (White House Champion of Change) for all her hard work and dedication to giving back and supporting women veterans.
Mojisola is excited for the Dog tag Inc. Fellowship program because she is looking to bridge the gaps in her own business and to build strong connections.
Danica Hammer is a native of Northern California. She earned an Associates of Science degree in Marketing in 2009 and went on to earn a Bachelors of Science in Finance in 2016.
Danica realized early on that she was compelled to aid others in need. As such, her passion for helping others manifested into countless hours of volunteer work. Most notably were her efforts and contributions while volunteering for the non- profit organization the Semper Fi Fund, a multi-service grant program for wounded warriors, and her founding of the Yellow Ribbon Warriors, a non-profit organization that raised over $65,000 in donations for the Semper Fi Fund. Danica also, simultaneously, volunteered her time to assist other organizations, such as her husband’s military unit, Stroller Warriors, Duo Dames, Catholic Women of the Chapel, Girl Scouts of America, Marine Corps Community Services Youth Sports, and Heroes Elementary Parent-Teacher Organization. As recognition for her efforts, Danica was the runner up for the Golden Rule award, sponsored by Volunteer Onslow (The Jacksonville-Onslow Volunteer and Nonprofit Resource Center), and Military Spouse Achievement Award 2013, sponsored by Military Spouse Connection.
Danica has been married to Patrick, an active duty Marine, for the past 13 years and they have two charismatic children together. She enjoys running and has completed two full marathons and many half-marathons. Her other passion is to travel and experience the world and other cultures. Danica thrives when she is contributing to causes, which assist others in need, and plans to use the experience and knowledge she gains from her time as a Fellow at Dog Tag, Inc. to further assist others in need around the world.
Logan M. Isaac grew up in Tustin, CA as Logan Mehl-Laituri and joined the Army in 2000 right out of high school to escape “The OC” and earn money for college. He began his military career as a forward observer in the 82nd Airborne where, as a Private First Class, he became the lowest ranking paratrooper in the history of the Advanced Airborne School to earn a First Time Go for the prestigious Jumpmaster Pretest. After 9/11, he reenlisted in order to transfer to Schofield Barracks, HI and increase the likelihood that he would be picked up for a Green to Gold scholarship and transition to the Officer Corps. He left Fort Bragg on December 20, 2002 and his unit was locked down to deploy to Kuwait for Operation Iraqi Freedom less than ten days later. The 25th Infantry Division (Light) received orders to deploy just a few months into his Hawaii assignment, and he decided to deploy rather than continue his education at that time. Logan left for Iraq in January 2004, serving during the Transition of Authority as well as the country’s first free elections before redeploying home in February 2005.
Once home, Logan began night classes in religion, awakening an interest in theology and desire for learning more about his faith. Although pacifist influences in his life lead him to feel deeply conflicted about being in the Field Artillery command field, his deep patriotism and years of experience on active duty compelled him to remain in the military. In 2006, he applied to be a noncombatant conscientious objector a few weeks before his unit again came under deployment orders. Despite his best efforts, and a desire to return to the Middle East, Logan was discharged honorably as a noncommissioned officer shortly thereafter. Even after Basic, Airborne, and Air Assault training, the most painful day of his military career was watching his unit deploy without him in August 2006.
His desire to return to the Middle East was realized in November 2006, when he went to Israel and Palestine with Christian Peacemaker Teams. Logan started his undergraduate education in 2008 at Hawaii Pacific University and returned to Iraq as a consultant and translator in January 2010 with Shane Claiborne for Greg Barrett’s The Gospel of Rutba. He received his Bachelor of Human Service with a concentration in Organizational Management in July of that year and immediately transitioned to a Master of Theological Studies program at Duke Divinity School. During his time at Duke University, he founded a student veterans association, convened a record-breaking conference on Veterans Day 2011, and wrote two books. After graduating with an MTS and a Certificate in Gender, Theology, and Ministry, Logan took a position teaching at Methodist University in 2013. After getting married to his seminary sweetheart, Laura Tardie (and taking the name Isaac with her), he travelled to Scotland to study under NT Wright for a Master of Letters in Systematic and Historical Theology. He completed his second graduate degree in 2015 and returned to teaching, this time at Duke University. He is now a sought after speaker, writer, educator, and consultant.
Logan M. Isaac is the author, as Logan Mehl-Laituri, of Reborn on the Fourth of July (InterVarsity, 2012) and For God & Country [in that order] (Herald, 2013).
Jose Lazokafatty comes from a multicultural background in the civilian sector of hospitality, tourism, and sales in collaboration with people from 27 countries around the world. This is a background that helped him possess a greater understanding of how to respond to people’s actions and interactions to achieve a common objective.
Enlisting into military service has been the most professionally meaningful experience of his life. Jose served as a Culinary Specialist for the Army that started on 2010; his initial training aka "Boot Camp" was special because it was the last active class of Basic Combat Training at Fort Knox, KY. Completing this experience, he remembers feeling an incredible pride and honor to be serving his country. Then, he relocated to Virginia to continue with his Advanced Individual Training at the Quartermaster Culinary School, which he graduated with a grade score of 96%. After that Jose held many job titles creating a diverse and vibrant resume. These events helped him advance up through the ranks and responsibilities.
Jose participated as a volunteer in multiple events for training and morale. Some of these experiences include Yakima, WA training center, National Training Center in California, a team member of the JBLM Advance Culinary Team representing I-Corp in the 38 annual Culinary competitive events, other assignments participated on organizational days, Hail & Farewell, Kadena Special Olympics, and other culinary competitive events. He is grateful and honored that for his efforts, he earned multiple impact awards, letters of commendation, Achievement certificates, and recognition coins.
One of his goals is to complete a baccalaureate degree in Science and Engineering with a focus on Biomedical Imaging and Neurotechnology. Jose wants someday to be able to repay his experiences by sharing knowledge and technology to help improve medical diagnoses of Military service members, Veterans, and the general population.
Having served as a United States soldier has granted Jose the opportunity to explore new cultures. Also, he learned how to build tolerance, how to resolve conflicts and build patience to fight through the struggle of medical care. Nevertheless, those difficult times never prevented him from always doing what he was commanded to do. Moreover, he was entrusted to lead junior soldiers, teaching them the right way of doing their labor by following the Army's regulations. The experience as a Military-Culinary professional was humbling. Jose found a new respect for food and food workers of every level. The intensity of the work to store, to distribute and to serve food rations for groups from 150 to 4500 soldiers is demanding. But Ihe found inspiration and comfort in the words "life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Jose believes in the United States Constitution, and his service in the military intensified the love and desire to become a better citizen of the United States of America.
Sarah Mitsch is a native of Weymouth, MA, a suburb of Boston. She attended Tufts University and received a bachelor of science degree in biology and psychology and a certificate in community health. She also completed the ROTC program and was commissioned as an Army 2LT upon graduation. Sarah received an educational delay and then attended the University of Southern California and received a masters degree in occupational therapy.
Sarah entered active duty as an occupational therapist and her first duty station was Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia. Her next assignment was Fort Campbell where she was assigned to a combat stress control unit and she deployed with the unit to northern Iraq as a part of OIF. Sarah then went to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC where she served as the Chief of Occupational Therapy for the amputee care section. This assignment included a deployment to Afghanistan where she set up and ran a concussion care clinic. Also during her time at Walter Reed she deployed to numerous countries with a rehab team to teach and advise our coalition forces' military medical professionals in rehabilitation medicine and amputee care. Her final assignment was Chief of Occupational Therapy at Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, NC. Sarah recently retired from active duty.
Sarah enjoys running, walking, reading, baking, and traveling in her free time. She is excited to be a Dog Tag Inc. Fellow and looks forward to the opportunities that lie ahead in her future.
Antwon (A.G.) Shaw
Antwon (A.G.) Shaw is a Sergeant First Class originally from St. Louis MO. He joined the U.S. Army Reserves in 1992 after graduating from High School. After serving two years of part time service he joined the active component in 1994. Using GoArmyEd and the tuition assistance program he earned a Bachelors in Multidisciplinary Studies from Grantham University with an emphasis on teaching and human psychology.
A.G. is also an accomplished self-taught photographer. He has a serious passion for photography and it is his plan to follow that passion and start his own photography business. In his time in the Army he travelled the world and saw many things. He learned that the small business is the backbone of any economy. It is his hope that through the Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship program he will receive the skill and knowledge that he requires to open and operate a solvent and viable portrait studio that will eventually grow into a multi-media business.
Melody Slusher is a Veteran Caregiver and Spouse from rural Missouri. Since 2004 Melody has strived to help change the path of Military Families that have come after her. In the early part of the War on Iraq many of the non-profits we know today for veterans and their families did not exist. This put the ball in motion for her, from being a Missouri Fellow Alumni for the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, a member of the Caregiver Committee with PsychArmor, to a member of the VFAC Board at her local VA.
Melody and her husband have worked together through his injuries sustained in combat while deployed to Iraq. Together they overcame the challenges from transition to healing from the wounds of war while helping those around them to do the same. The Essyons Foundation is being established to help others do this in their lives. Melody also helps to host a Veteran and Family Retreat with Vets Helping Disabled Vets at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.
Melody is currently in law school and has plans to also run for office in the future. This will give her a larger platform to assist Military, Veterans, and their families.
Through the Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship Program Melody hopes to continue to help improve her quality of life while simultaneously using that knowledge to assist in improving the lives of others.
Alison Storemski grew up in Belleville, MI. She is the youngest of three children, with two older brothers, one being 20 years older and all from the same parents. Alison enjoys nature, cooking, art, concerts, comedy shows and mostly spending time with her husband, dog, and two cats. She started working at the young age of 16 to provide for herself and contribute to her family. Alison and her husband, Brian, grew up in the same town, but they did not meet until after high school when she became a server at a local restaurant where Brian was a cook. At 20, she moved to Charlotte, NC, to help care for her twin nieces and attend college. In 2010, Brian joined the Army and departed for his first duty station in Vicenza, Italy, and in 2011, Alison and Brian got married by proxy.
Alison and Brian enjoyed living in Italy, at least until Brian deployed to Afghanistan in the summer of 2012. Brian was a combat medic for the 173rd Airborne Infantry Combat Brigade, but three months into his deployment, Brian was shot by a member of the Afghan Army who suddenly turned his allegiance against the Americans during a joint mission. One American soldier and contractor were killed and three others were wounded, including Brian, whereupon he and Alison returned to the United States to begin healing and recovering. Since then, Alison has been a caregiver for Brian, who had his first surgery in December 2012, was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, who is in remission now, and has had his most-recent surgery in April 2016. Brian and Alison struggle with the physical repercussions of war, along with the emotional effects it has had on them. Alison is proud of what she and her husband have endured and is thankful for the opportunities she has had to overcome and grow with her husband through this process. Both are active in the wounded warrior community in the Washington D.C. area. They are thankful for the friends they've made who have had similar paths and understand what it's like to have a “new normal.” Brian medically retired from the military in April 2017.
Alison has worked for three years as an assistant manager in an AAFES concession at Fort Belvoir. In Alison's professional life, she is very organized, reliable, and determined. Alison plans to bring that determination into the Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship Program and is excited to be a part of this unique opportunity. Alison looks forward to the experience Dog Tag, Inc. will provide and the education she will receive while learning to run the various areas of the bakery. Alison knows this program will help her identify her true passion and looks forward to developing her business acumen.
JOHN VAN STEENBURGH
John Van Steenburgh did most of his growing up in Brandon, Florida, where he was the youngest of three children. John earned his Eagle Scout rank in Boy Scouts in 1982, and claims that this is where he developed his passion for the outdoors. In fact, he’s more than happy to tell you that his favorite place to be is “anywhere outdoors,” and he has long been active in backpacking and camping, water sports, snow sports, and road- and mountain-biking.
Growing up as an “Air Force brat,” John developed a strong bend toward multi-culturalism. With that in his background, and a clear drive to see and experience the world for himself, John was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force in 1996. As a Manpower Officer, his ‘world tour’ began with an awesome assignment in San Antonio, TX, which John likes to joke was his first “overseas” assignment because of the uniqueness of the Texas culture and people. John jumped from Texas to South Korea, and then to Germany, quickly expanding his diverse cultural experiences. While there, he was given the opportunity to do a “career broadening” assignment, which is where he got his first taste of work in the diplomatic world, and he loved it! But, after 13 years in the Air Force, John took a really big leap in 2008 and traded in his Air Force blue uniform for an Army green one when he transferred to the U.S. Army to be a Foreign Area Officer. This change of military service and career field gave John the opportunity to develop and use his newfound passion for International Relations and National Security Affairs while he continued to serve our country. So, following a few years back in the States, John moved back to Europe, this time to Italy, and followed that with a move to Ghana. John will retire from the Army in October of 2017. He enjoys talking about all of his time and experiences overseas, and says the final tally of countries he visited (for both work and play) is 34!
Somewhere in all this fun, John found time to start a family. He is married to his wife, Ann, and they have two wonderful and very energetic boys, Isaac and Noah, who keep them really busy and having fun. John has served as their coaches in Little League baseball, as well as their leaders in Cub Scouts.
John did his undergraduate work in Psychology and Engineering at Auburn University. He’s a big fan of those Tigers and is happy to exchange a hearty “War Eagle!” with any Auburn fans that come around. John has been to graduate school twice, once at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL, where he studied Experimental Psychology, and the other at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, where he studied Regional Security Affairs.
After his fellowship at the Dog Tag Bakery, John hopes to continue enjoying his life in the outdoors, sharing as much of it as he can with his family, and making a career out of it. John plans to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities that will leverage his knowledge of the outdoors and his experiences in world travel.
Tamarra Stewart is from Woodbridge, Virginia via Cleveland, Ohio. She is currently a Sergeant in the U.S. Army stationed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD and will medically retire after 9 years of service in the fall of 2017. She is half of a dual-military couple: she is married to Staff Sergeant Joiah Stewart and they have two beautiful daughters, Joi and Winter. While at Walter Reed she serves as the Military Justice Paralegal NCOIC. She has deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Bagram, Afghanistan.
Tamarra is a member of Kappa Epsilon Psi Military Sorority and Alumni with Wounded Warrior Project.
She is on the path to obtain her degree in Behavioral Science but may also pursue an additional degree in Business. She is entrepreneurial at heart and has many business ideas she will pursue. Tamarra has known about the wonderful Dog Tag, Inc. Fellowship for some time but unfortunately wasn’t able to apply until now. She is elated that she was accepted and plans to put what she learns into practice once she starts her own business.
Lauren Warner grew up an Army brat, moving 12 times as a kid before heading off to college. She attended The Pennsylvania State University and graduated with degrees in English and Journalism before deciding to follow in her dad’s footsteps and join the Army!
For the past four years she has run the social media for The U.S. Army 3d Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), along with being the first and only female Voice of The Old Guard, and participating in Twilight Tattoo and Spirit of America performances.
Lauren is not only a military veteran, but a military spouse as well! While at Fort Myer, Lauren met her husband and they’ve been inseparable ever since.
Due to the nature of her husband’s injuries, Lauren separated from the military in order to provide as a full-time caregiver. Since separating from the Army, Lauren has been looking for ways to plug into the caregiving community, completing her 200-hour yoga teacher training through VEToga, another local military community non-profit and she’s now in search of a way to give back to that organization and help grow its base here in the DMV. A lifetime Girl Scout, Single Soldier’s advocate and a Family Readiness Group member, after countless hours of volunteering she’s looking for a new way to direct her energy with a non-profit focus.
With two years of caregiving under her belt, she’s found her passion in the care-giving and veteran community and her goal post-fellowship program is to find a way to connect more veterans with holistic resources like such as yoga.