Thursday, May 30, 2024

Louisiana Tech sophomore engineering couple earns DoD SMART Scholarships

by BIZ Magazine

What a wedding present.

Nathan and Taylor Massey, newlywed sophomores in Louisiana Tech University’s Chemical Engineering and Nanosystems Engineering programs, respectively, have earned full-tuition-plus U.S. Department of Defense Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarships.

The SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program is a combined educational and workforce development opportunity for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral students to gain technical skills in critical STEM fields and support the national security mission of the Department of Defense.

The awards will provide Nathan and Taylor, both of Clinton, Mississippi, with full tuition for up to five years, opportunities to work with mentors and complete summer internships, a stipend, and full-time employment with the Department of Defense after graduation.

This unique opportunity offers students hands-on experience at one of over 100 innovative laboratories across the Army, Navy, Air Force, and larger Department of Defense. During summer internships, each SMART Scholar works directly with an experienced mentor, gaining valuable technical skills. After graduation, Nathan and Taylor will work at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Nathan and Taylor are both working toward a minor in Mathematics.

“We are so excited to both be awarded a SMART scholarship,” Taylor said. “We have been incredibly blessed in recent years, and this award greatly adds to that. We got married in August, so now knowing that we have this award and the benefits involved, including full-time employment after graduation, is a weight off our shoulders, really allowing us to focus on achieving our fullest professional and personal potential.”

The two interned at their future job site — the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Jackson — during the summer of 2022, Nathan in the Geotechnical and Structures Lab and Taylor in the Environmental Lab and “really look forward to continuing our careers there,” Nathan said.

The Department of Defense is committed to developing the nation’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) talent and is the nation’s largest employer of federal scientists and engineers, with nearly 150,000 civilian STEM employees working across the DoD. DoD STEM activities support this mission by providing authentic learning experiences through a variety of education and outreach initiatives, such as the SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program. For over a decade, SMART has trained a highly skilled STEM workforce that competes with the evolving trends of the industry to support the next generation of science and technology for our nation.

“During our short time at Tech, we have already met and been encouraged by so many professors and faculty, and that’s helped us thrive in the College of Engineering and Science,” Nathan said. “The curriculum itself provides incredible opportunities to create a strong foundation in engineering starting freshman year.

“In the first two engineering courses of the fall and winter quarters, Mr. (Michael) Theodos (Professional in Residence of Tech’s Instrumentation and Control Systems Engineering Technology program) really helped develop our skills as engineers,” he said. “He made a point to express interest in how his students learned, and he acted to provide us with the teaching and guidance that benefitted our class, and each student, the best. Last year, at the 2022 First-Year Design Expo, we were awarded the DaVinci Award for the most out-of-the-box solution with our ‘Harness Helper Fall Alert System.’”

“This project was so fun to work on together, and we enjoyed getting to apply all the things that we’d learned earlier,” Taylor said. “Aside from the curriculum, the culture in the College is one of connection and encouragement. Nearly every day, we talk with faculty, professors, and other peers and get to share encouragement as well as receive it. Knowing that everyone wants to see you succeed is something special, and we are grateful to be a part of this community.”

For more information on the SMART Program or to learn how students can apply, visit www.smartscholarship.org. The application is open annually from August through December.

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