HUNTSVILLE — Jan Smith, founder and CEO of S³, has made a gift of $200,000 to the University of Alabama in Huntsville to establish the Janice Hays Smith Endowed Scholarship in Electrical Engineering. Smith has also given an additional $10,000 to UAH to enable a student to benefit from the scholarship immediately.
Each recipient will be known as a Janice Hays Smith Electrical Engineering Scholar.
“I’m so proud to be a part of this program and proud that UAH is a partner to our defense industry in Huntsville,” Smith said. “This scholarship is my second scholarship. The first was aimed more toward cybersecurity or software engineers.”
The new scholarship will be awarded to a full-time undergraduate student for their freshman, sophomore, junior or senior year, or to a full-time graduate student, pursuing a degree in electrical engineering. Scholarship recipients who are entering as freshmen must have a high school GPA of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and have achieved a minimum ACT score of 30.
“On behalf of the electrical and computer engineering department, and the College of Engineering at UAH, I am truly grateful for Ms. Jan Smith’s generosity,” said Dr. Shankar Mahalingam, dean of engineering. “Her personal accomplishments as CEO of S3 will help inspire our electrical engineering scholarship recipients to achieve their educational goals and establish a successful professional career that can have a major impact on our community.
“Ms. Smith is truly a visionary and a wonderful role model for our students.”
Preference will be given also to students who are members of the Society of Women Engineers, residents of Alabama and students who demonstrate merit and financial need.
“This scholarship is very meaningful to SWE,” said SWE President Cameron Gallups. “It is a testament to our community’s support of women in engineering. Scholarships help us as students focus on our studies, pursue career opportunities and engage in campus and community life.”
Smith said she is especially excited to make this connection, as the SWE has been championing women engineers for 70 years.
“Any society that recognizes and supports women as part of science brings value in showing women that there are more of them than they think,” she said.
The S³ CEO has already seen the difference her endowments have made toward impacting the lives and academic careers of UAH students.
“To be a recipient of this scholarship means so much to me,” said Jasmine Le, a recent computer science graduate. “The scholarship has helped me immensely during my academic journey and provided me the freedom to focus on my courses without financial burdens. Ms. Smith’s generosity enabled me to pursue internships, certifications and other opportunities alongside my degree.
“I am forever grateful for the impact it has made on my life.”
Smith said she chose electrical engineering as the focus for the most practical of reasons.
“My company is S³, and we are a defense contractor, sorely in need of electrical engineers, as is all of Huntsville,” she said. “So, it’s not only for the recipient, it’s for the community. I am a member of the UAH Foundation board, so I have a vested interest in what we are doing.
“I view the scholarships as a matter of workforce investment that brings value to our city.”
Smith is an Alabama native and began her career as an associate software engineer in support of Boeing for NASA missions. She founded S³ in 1991. The company operates in more than 25 states and provides professional services and solutions to the Department of Defense and commercial clients.