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UAH students awarded DoD SMART scholarships

HUNTSVILLE — Five engineering students have been awarded Department of Defense Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation scholarships, the University of Alabama in Huntsville announced.

The students are Kelly Campo, honors student in industrial and systems engineering; Mario Ward, honors student in mechanical engineering; Joslyn Fletcher, honors student in aerospace engineering; Jeremiah Driscoll: cybersecurity engineering; and Sydney Gothart, mechanical engineering.

DoD SMART is a scholarship-for-service program in which the DoD provides a full scholarship for recipients to pursue STEM degrees that are focused on research to further the DoD’s mission, along with health insurance, an annual stipend and an assignment to an experienced mentor in their field.

For every year of funding toward an undergraduate or graduate degree, SMART Scholars commit to working that amount of time for the DoD as a civilian employee. In addition to financial assistance, DoD SMART offers annual summer research internships at DoD facilities, including Redstone Arsenal, across the U.S. to prepare students for full-time employment at DoD.

Mario Ward, Honors mechanical engineering major.
(Courtesy Mario Ward)

Mario Ward is an honors mechanical engineering major and rising junior who has been active in the honors community, serving as a community leader for the 2021-2022 academic year.

“Being named as a DoD SMART scholar will not only give me the means to focus more on school but will allow me to put the knowledge that I obtain in the class to good use during the summer internship,” Ward said. “Being here at UAH has given me the opportunity to branch out more and see what’s out there, especially in the case of research.

“As far as the future holds, I plan to stay in the DoD, but move to the Air Force and do work with them.”

Jeremiah Driscoll
(Courtesy Jeremiah Driscoll)

Jeremiah Driscoll is a cybersecurity engineering major who will be interning at the Missile Defense Agency over the summers through his SMART scholarship.

“The DoD SMART Scholarship will be the catalyst to my academic career,” Driscoll said. “I was planning on funding the rest of my semesters at UAH myself, but with the SMART Scholarship, I can take all of my degree courses in a timely manner without having to cut back on credit hours.

“I transferred to UAH from Calhoun Community College in the fall 2020 semester, so most of my experience at UAH has been affected by the pandemic. However, the quality of the courses did not seem to be affected by the move to online teaching.

“From here, I am hoping to finish my degree, then after an internship with the DoD, I will work with them for the foreseeable future.”

Sydney Gothart
(Courtesy Sydney Gothart)

Sydney Gothart is a mechanical engineering major who is working toward her second degree from UAH.

“Being named a DoD SMART Scholar will positively impact my academic career,” Gothart said. “It will teach me a variety of ways to apply what I’ve learned in the classroom to the real world. More than anything, it relieves the stress of finding a job after graduation. UAH has been an amazing experience.

“UAH challenges me in ways I didn’t know were possible. I’ve enjoyed my professors and my classes, as well as the friends I have made along the way. In the future, I’m hoping to successively complete my ME degree from UAH. I plan to stay in Huntsville and raise a family here.”

Kelly Campo
(Courtesy Kelly Campo)

Kelly Campo, an honors industrial and systems engineering rising junior, was offered a DoD SMART summer internship at the Missile Defense Agency on Redstone Arsenal.

“Being named a DoD SMART scholar has boosted my confidence in myself, because I was able to achieve the standards of a DoD SMART scholar,” said Campo. “By reflecting on how to answer the personal statement, I learned more about myself, why I chose my major, my goals for the future and where I want to be in the next five years.

“The DoD SMART Scholarship has made me realize how much the real world values a strong foundation that is built during one’s undergraduate career. As a result, I want to absorb as much as I can while I am here at UAH whether that be through classes, research, extracurriculars or connections.

“UAH has supported me throughout this application process and has provided me with the opportunities that have led to me becoming a DoD SMART scholar. Through the guidance and mentorship of my research advisor and mentor, my professors, the Honors College and the help of Ms. Staton during the application process as well as my family, I have grown into a well-rounded student who has earned the award of DoD SMART scholar.

Joslyn Fletcher
(Courtesy Joslyn Fletcher)

“My next steps involve pursuing a master’s degree through the UAH JUMP program. After graduating, I plan to work in the defense industry in Huntsville.”

Joslyn Fletcher is an aerospace engineering honors rising junior who will also be interning with MDA at Redstone Arsenal over her remaining undergraduate summers.

“I believe that the best way for anyone to learn is through hands-on experience,” Fletcher said. “There is another level of understanding and confidence that can only be fully achieved by the work done yourself.

“This being said, I think that being a DoD SMART scholar will grant me the opportunity to do just that, so that I may be able to further my academic career beyond the classroom.

“I hope to be able to build a career where I may work on impactful projects that allow me to continue to learn. I also plan to travel and learn all I can from the world we live in. There is so much to gain from the various perspectives and cultures, and I want to experience as much as I can.

“Throughout my future, I want to inspire others to pursue their academic and personal passions as well.”

For students who have received a 2022 DoD SMART Scholarship, please contact [email protected] for future recognition.

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