Picture of Ben Parnell

Ben Parnell

United States Army
M.Ed. Candidate, Class of 2024
Peabody College

“I realize how much impact I can have mentoring young students and hope I can help future leaders through sharing my military experiences.”


Tell us about your military service. What did you do? Where did you serve? What do you value the most about your military service?

I was in the Army for 11 years, 8 of which were in Special Forces. As a Green Beret our mission is to advise and assist other militaries. I spent 5 years in Colorado and 3 years in Germany. While in Colorado I deployed to Ukraine twice, once in 2016 and once in 2018. When I returned from Ukraine, I volunteered to go to Germany. While in Germany I was assigned to the Crisis Response Force (CRF), I went to SFARTAETC, and served on the sniper team until it was shut down.

I value the problem-solving aspect the most out of my military service. My time in the Army gave me the confidence to be able to handle any situation. I am not afraid of failure because I have failed, and I understand that failure is part of the learning process. Because of that, in the end I will be successful.


What are your thoughts on mentoring other students while at Vanderbilt? As a role model, what values do you want to share?

I have been a mentor to others during many stages of my life, I welcome it. I take pride in sharing my knowledge and experiences with others. My top values are discipline, sacrifice, and excellence in everything.


While at Vanderbilt, what will be the focus of your studies and how do you plan to use this knowledge in your future career?

I am in the secondary education path for social studies. I want to be a high school history teacher after I graduate.


What would you tell other veterans about the Bass Military Scholars Program?

I will tell them to apply. Even if you think you will not win, try anyways. Having earned this scholarship has elevated a huge financial burden off my shoulders and allows me to focus on other things, rather than worry about money.