John T. Phillips portrait
2018-2019 Luce Scholar

John Phillips began his professional life at seventeen by enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served for four years on active duty as a musician, performing in thousands of ceremonies and public relations events as a flute player and conductor. To pursue education on a full-time basis, he transitioned to the Marine Reserve in 2014, serving as a training and deployment processing chief. A military career counselor since 2017, he mentors servicemembers on opportunities and benefits available to them in their military and civilian careers. John earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from California State University, San Marcos in December 2015. A leader among the student veterans community, he served as Veteran Students’ Representative to Associated Students, Inc. and as Vice President of the Student Veterans Organization. He used these positions to advocate on behalf of other veterans, servicemembers, and their families, and coordinated events to improve student veterans’ access to benefits with the Department of Veterans Affairs. He also studied abroad in Amman, Jordan to sharpen his Arabic language skills. For his master’s degree at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, John focused on public international law, gender analysis, and conflict resolution. Among several community engagement initiatives he led, he brought Israeli, Palestinian, and American students together to simulate negotiations of the peace process in an Israel-Palestine Working Group. He also interned in the Stability and Humanitarian Affairs office in the Pentagon. Since graduation in December 2017, John has begun work with a gubernatorial campaign in Maine, and created his own political consulting firm with the objective of providing expert electoral campaign advice to under-resourced political campaigns in the New England region in order to reduce barriers to access for potential candidates.