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Published October 27, 2020
University of Wyoming student Holden Bindl, from Fort Bridger, recently was accepted into the Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship-for-Service Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).
The DOD SMART scholarship is a service program that awards college students a full scholarship that covers the total cost of full-time tuition, provides a monthly stipend and arranges civilian employment at DOD facilities after completing their degrees.
Bindl, a graduate student in electrical and computer engineering, expects to graduate this semester.
“When I found out that I had been accepted into the SMART Program, I was relieved and elated,” Bindl says. “Not only did I have guaranteed funding for my master’s degree, but all of the hard work I put into my prior education was finally paying off.”
Bindl credits faculty members in UW’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering with preparing him to work in such a prestigious job with the DOD.
“The educational and professional experience from UW armed me with the tools needed to get the award and subsequent job,” Bindl says.
According to the scholarship criteria, an applicant must be an undergraduate or graduate student currently pursuing a technical degree in one of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines. An applicant also is required to be a student in good standing with a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0.
SMART scholarship recipients participate in summer internships at DOD facilities. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bindl was unable to participate this year.
According to the SMART scholarship’s website, 323 scholarships were awarded this year, which was 13 percent of all applications.
“Holden has been a student in several of my classes, and he’s always been a standout,” says Cameron Wright, interim dean of the UW College of Engineering and Applied Science. “I’m confident he will make important contributions to our nation’s security in his work with the DOD.”
Bindl explains that he heard about the scholarship through a fellow graduate student who also had received the award.
“I heard about this amazing scholarship opportunity, and I applied for it because the professional path it creates is second to none,” Bindl says.
After graduation, Bindl will move to Washington, D.C., to begin his job with the DOD.
“Pursuing an electrical engineering degree at UW is a lot of work,” Bindl says. “The best advice I can give is that you have to remain persistent, and liking math doesn’t hurt either.”
For more information about the SMART scholarship, visit www.smartscholarship.org/smart.