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UW Student Receives DOD SMART Scholarship Award

November 15, 2017
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Wyatt Emery

University of Wyoming student Wyatt Emery, of Carpenter, was selected for the Department of Defense (DOD) Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) scholarship this past summer.

“I was excited and honored to receive the SMART scholarship, as well as relieved, because I will have a job after graduation,” says Emery, who will graduate next spring semester.

Emery, a senior majoring in computer science, has learned and gained a variety of skills during his time at UW, which has prepared him to work in such a prestigious job with the DOD.

“I’ve been able to learn the skills needed to even be considered for this job. I was able to make connections during my time at UW and would have never received this scholarship without such incredible letters of recommendation from professors Noah Miles, Jim Ward and Kim Buckner,” Emery says. “I cannot express my gratitude toward these professors enough.”

The DOD SMART scholarship is a service program that gives college students the opportunity to receive a full scholarship and be employed by the DOD after completing their degrees.

According to the scholarship criteria, an applicant must be an undergraduate or graduate student currently pursuing a technical degree in one of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. Students also are required to have a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 at the time of the award.

SMART scholarship recipients participate in summer internships at DOD facilities. However, Emery will forgo the internship since he will graduate in May.

“Normally, the internship would consist of training and preparing me for the work environment,” he says. “But, I will begin work right away and, instead, be trained on the job.”

The scholarship award gives Emery fully paid tuition for his last academic year at UW and a monthly stipend. According to the SMART scholarship’s official website, for the year 2017 scholarship, 343 scholars were awarded nationally, which was 14 percent of all applicants. The average GPA was a 3.6, and 22 percent of the scholarship awardees were from computer engineering and science fields.

“I initially heard about the SMART scholarship by email, which is a national scholarship and fairly competitive. However, once I looked at the scholarship’s website and its benefits, it was enough to convince me to apply,” Emery says. “On top of that, working with the DOD seemed pretty neat.”

Emery explains that there are multiple job opportunities for computer scientists locally and throughout Colorado, such as the Denver area.

“There are many opportunities for computer programming jobs,” he says. “However, I have not looked into many because of this scholarship.”

Last summer, Emery traveled to Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in Southern California, where he plans to work after graduation.

“I toured a large part of the base and met my future boss. I gained a further in-depth understanding of what I will be doing for them after graduation and the steps I need to take to prepare,” Emery says. “I was fortunate enough to see testing of new equipment, and I had the opportunity to ride on an old tank dating back to World War II.”

Emery, originally from a small Wyoming town -- Carpenter, with a population of 100 people in Laramie County -- explains that he hopes to continue living in a small area, even though he will be located in California.

“California is a big place with a lot of people, yet, I hope to live in a city smaller than Laramie and commute to Edwards AFB.”

In the spring, Emery will begin his job in the data gathering department at Edwards AFB.

“I will mainly be working on the production level software that collects and displays Federal Aviation Administration data and be a part of the team that collects data from aircraft tests on site,” Emery says. “The data gathering will consist of testing a small black box that is used for test planes to measure speed, elevation and more. Edwards is primarily a research and development base; a lot of testing with new aircraft and technologies is done there.”

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