By Maggie Daly and Kris Patterson, NIWC Atlantic Public Affairs
College students interested in interning with Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic through the Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship-for-Service Program have less than one month left to apply.
The SMART Scholarship-for-Service program is currently accepting applications for the 2024 fiscal year. The application window closes December 1, 2023, at 5 p.m. Easter Standard Time (EST).
The SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program, funded by the Department of Defense (DoD), is an educational and workforce development opportunity for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students. SMART scholarships are offered to undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students pursing a degree in one of the 24 STEM disciplines.
“The goal of the scholarship is to build a diverse and sustainable talent pool, prepared to serve our nation,” said Josette Francis, NIWC Atlantic’s SMART Facility Coordinator and Summer Faculty Research Program Coordinator.
Students awarded SMART scholarships receive full tuition coverage, an annual stipend, an experienced mentor, and guaranteed post-graduate employment opportunities with a DoD command, such as NIWC Atlantic.
Throughout the program, the SMART scholars are paired up with mentors who advise them during three phases. In Phase 1, the SMART scholars pursue their SMART-sponsored degree; in Phase 2, the scholars intern at a DoD facility; and in Phase 3 the scholars enter the workforce as DoD STEM professionals, completing the program’s post-graduate commitment.
NIWC Atlantic accepted three SMART scholarship recipients for NIWC Atlantic’s 2023 summer cohort. The scholars spent the summer interning for NIWC Atlantic in Charleston, South Carolina while simultaneously working towards completing their degrees.
Camden Brady, a Clemson University Industrial Engineering PhD candidate focusing on human factors, spent the summer with NIWC Atlantic’s Department of Research and Applied Science's Cognition Laboratory exploring how electroencephalogram (EEG) voltage measurements are related to brain activity.
Brady also learned how other non-invasive measurements of brain activity, for example, pupil dynamics, can be used to inform information system design and assist human decision-making and performance for service members operating in demanding environments.
“This internship helped me to better understand all that the Navy does, and how I can use what I learned in my PhD program to help better the Navy,” said Brady.
Brady said his SMART Scholar mentor Dr. Matthew Riedy, principal investigator for the Cognition Lab, will be a lifelong soundboard through the completion of his PhD and in his career thereafter.
Riedy was also complimentary of his mentee’s work.
“Camden is a promising young researcher whose great attitude and diligent work ethic will serve him well as he pursues his doctoral degree as a DoD SMART scholar with NIWC Atlantic,” Reidy said.
River Cooper, a master's degree candidate studying Digital Forensics at George Mason University, worked on reverse engineering malware and data recovery with the NIWC Atlantic Cyber Forensics Service team.
Cooper said the internship gave him a glimpse of the fast-paced workflow and ever-changing technologies the DoD helps facilitate.
“This scholarship has given me access to state-of-the-art resources that I would not have access to in an academic environment,” Cooper said. “Now I’m ready to tackle new challenges.”
Cooper’s mentor, Sean Brennan, Cyber Forensics Service team lead, was able to provide contacts across the workforce to expose his mentee to the many facets of NIWC Atlantic. Brennan commended Cooper for his work ethic and drive during the internship.
"River is highly professional and motivated with an aptitude for picking up new knowledge and skills quickly,” said Brennan. “I have no doubts he will be highly successful in his field."
Sarah Naidu, a bachelor's degree candidate studying Systems Engineering at the University of Virginia, worked with NIWC Atlantic’s Maritime Operational Reach Tool (MORT) team to create logistical solutions for Marines.
She said the internship exposed her to many different career opportunities, career paths, and connected her to many people at all stages of their careers.
“My time at NIWC Atlantic has helped teach me who exactly who I want to be in terms of my career,” said Naidu. “It not only allowed me to see myself as an individual in the workforce, but also what kind of projects I’d like to work on in the future.”
NIWC Atlantic Executive Director Peter Reddy said he was impressed with the caliber of the scholars and their innovation as they collaborated with their mentors and teams on their respective projects throughout their internships.
“The SMART scholars at NIWC Atlantic consistently team with their mentors in developing novel solutions to hard Navy challenges,” said Reddy. “NIWC Atlantic’s continued participation in this valuable scholarship program ensures that our command can attract and retain subject matter experts in fields critical to the warfighter.”
For students interested in pursuing a SMART scholarship to work with NIWC Atlantic, visit the NIWC Atlantic Workforce Student Programs page for more information on eligibility and application requirements.
About NIWC Atlantic
As a part of Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, formerly known as SPAWAR, NIWC Atlantic provides systems engineering and acquisition to deliver information warfare capabilities to the naval, joint and national warfighter through the acquisition, development, integration, production, test, deployment, and sustainment of interoperable command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, cyber and information technology capabilities.
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