SEAP Intern Awarded DoD SMART Scholarship

SMART is a scholarship-for-service program that provides full tuition in exchange for post-graduation civilian service in a DoD facility

Brittany Webb, a 2012-2013 Science, Engineering & Apprentice Program (SEAP) intern with the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL), was recently awarded a Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) scholarship by the Department of Defense (DoD).

SMART is a scholarship-for-service program that provides full tuition and other financial benefits in exchange for a period of post-graduation civilian service in a DoD facility. Another benefit of the program comes in the form of internships that allow for broadly relevant hands-on research and work experiences in DoD facilities, thereby enhancing their educational experience. The SMART Scholarship Program represents a critical DoD investment in attracting the best and brightest of minds whose technical expertise will help execute the Department's mission.

Webb will be a first generation college student for her family upon completion of her degree. Her mentor, Dr. Kathryn Guy, materials engineer at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineer Research & Development Center Construction, Engineering Research Lab, explained, “I really enjoyed having Brittany as a SEAP intern. She was motivated to take on the challenges of working in a real lab learning new skills that would support a career in STEM. It was refreshing to see a high school student take an interest in learning outside of the classroom environment. SEAP is a great way for students to get a taste of what STEM careers have to offer before committing to a college major.”

Webb attributes her decision to apply for the SMART scholarship to her positive experience working as an intern for the SEAP program. "My time in the SEAP program showed me what the USACE does, and it made me realize that if I wanted to help people and animals (which has always been my goal going into engineering), working with the Army Corps of Engineers would be the way to do it,” Webb explained. “The projects I worked on while I was there were research that (I think) would have gone on to help both soldiers and animals on the bases. I liked the way things were done at CERL, very organized and each project had clear objectives, which is what I am looking for in a job. This lead me to apply for the SMART scholarship (along with me needing a way to pay for school!), and I am so honored to be able to come back to USACE to work again.”

The SEAP program matches practicing DoD scientists with talented high school students creating a direct mentor-student relationship that provides students with training that is unparalleled at most high schools. SEAP participants receive first-hand research experience and exposure to the Department’s laboratories and gain “hands-on” experience in a professional research setting. Students are treated as research assistants to help prepare them further towards developing their STEM education and career interests. These participants learn how STEM research can benefit the DoD as well as the civilian community, while gaining a broader view of their STEM field of interest and learn what kind of work awaits them in their future career. At the end of the SEAP apprenticeship, students prepare and present final reports based on their research experience. All SEAP students who successfully complete their apprenticeship are awarded an educational stipend.

Beginning in August 2017, Webb will begin to receive her benefits from the SMART Scholarship Program to pay her education and tuition fees, and will be starting her internship with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) in St. Louis next summer. Once Webb graduates, she will return to St. Louis for full-time employment with NGA.

To learn more about the SMART program and to apply, please visit the DoD SMART website https://smartscholarship.org/.

To learn more about available SEAP opportunities and to apply, please visit the Navy website https://seap.asee.org/ and the Army website http://www.usaeop.com/programs/apprenticeships/seap/.

By Emily Tully