Chris Howell co-founded Warrior-Scholar Project with two of his Yale classmates, Nick Rugoff and Jesse Reising. Chris spent a year at the University of Sydney before transferring to Yale through the Eli Whitney Students Program — an admissions program for non-traditional students with unique or extraordinary backgrounds. He graduated in 2014. Prior to college, Chris spent almost nine years serving in the Australian Army, predominately in special operations with the 2nd Commando Regiment. He served in Afghanistan in 2006 with the Special Operations Task Group and subsequently in the Tactical Assault Group (East), Australia’s domestic counterterrorism and hostage rescue capability.
Chris wanted to attend university but had performed poorly in high school. So, he and his brother, David, then a top student at the University of Sydney, worked together to improve his academic reading and writing skills. Warrior-Scholar Project was designed as a formalized version of Chris’ experience successfully transitioning from the military to university. Chris served as the executive director of Warrior-Scholar Project from its inception until September 2015. He now works in the International Humanitarian Law and International Justice space.
Originally from Decatur, Ill., Jesse Reising earned a B.A. from Yale University, where he played linebacker and double-majored in economics (distinction) and political science (distinction).
Jesse intended to serve his country as an officer in the Marine Corps upon graduating from Yale, but those plans were derailed by an injury he sustained while making a tackle during the 2010 Harvard-Yale football game. Unable to serve in the Marines, Jesse co-founded Warrior-Scholar Project with two of his Yale classmates, Chris Howell and Nick Rugoff, in order to support those serving in the military in his place.
Jesse has also worked as a contractor overseeing engineering and construction projects in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province and as a federal prosecutor with the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Justice Department in Chicago. Jesse is a graduate of Harvard Law School.
Nick Rugoff is the co-founder, board member, and vice chairman of Warrior-Scholar Project. He works as an investment professional in New York and received a B.A. from Yale University. He is the co-founder and partner at Eothen.
David Howell was the director of studies for Warrior-Scholar Project from 2012 to 2015. In his role, he collaborated with professors at Yale University to design the academic curriculum and manage its expansion from Yale, Harvard University, and University of Michigan to eight other campuses across America. David oversaw the academic content taught by professors, writing and reading instructors, tutors, and volunteers at each campus. He also wrote the syllabi for and taught WSP seminars on analytic reading. Alongside his role as the director of studies, David was a research associate and teaching fellow at Harvard from 2014 to 2015 and the Brady-Johnson Predoctoral fellow in Grand Strategy and International Security Studies at Yale from 2012 to 2014.
When Jesse Reising was injured, the Yale football team — led by Clifford Foreman — rallied around their teammate to help him launch Warrior-Scholar Project. Clifford was instrumental in fundraising, helping with the design of the original curriculum, and serving as a tutor and mentor to the very first group of Warrior-Scholars. Clifford’s multi-dimensional talents had a huge impact on the success of WSP in the early days of the organization.