Seven students from Auburn University Awarded DoD SMART Scholarship

Published: May 22, 2023

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Seven Auburn University students were awarded the Department of Defense Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation Scholarship.

Emma Akozbek, Chase Hittle, Mason Holtcamp, Dayton Malone, Seth Markum, Rehman Qureshi and Alton Stoute will receive full tuition for up to five years, mentorship, summer internships, a stipend and full-time employment with the Department of Defense after graduation through the scholarship. This unique opportunity offers students hands-on experience at one of over 100 innovative laboratories across the Army, Navy, Air Force and larger Department of Defense. During summer internships, SMART scholars work directly with an experienced mentor, gaining valuable technical skills.

Emma Akozbek of Huntsville, Alabama, will work at the Missile Defense Agency in Huntsville during her DoD SMART program. Akozbek is majoring in Aerospace Engineering in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.

“I am beyond excited to begin my journey with the Department of Defense,” Akozbek said. “This is a dream come true. I cannot wait to see what my future holds. Thank you SMART for this incredible opportunity.”

Chase Hittle of Madison, Alabama, will work at the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) in Huntsville, Alabama. Hittle is an electric engineering major in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and will focus on electrical engineering during this scholarship. When asked about the scholarship Hittle said he was, “honored to be selected and looking forward to gaining hands-on experience along with my academics from Auburn University.”

Mason Holtcamp of Madison, Alabama, will work at the The Redstone Test Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Holtcamp is majoring in materials science engineering in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and will focus on additive manufacturing during his DoD SMART program.

“I'm thankful to have been selected as a SMART scholar, and I look forward to the opportunity of beginning my career at RTC. Through the scholarship, I will be provided the resources to grow my abilities as a materials scientist and test engineer. I'm excited for a fulfilling career in the defense of our nation,” said Holtcamp.

Dayton Malone of Huntsville, Alabama, will work at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center in Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. Malone is a software engineering major in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and will focus on software development and testing in the missile defense industry during his scholarship.

“I am sincerely grateful and thankful to the DoD SMART Scholarship selection committee for awarding me with a life-changing opportunity that will allow me to advance in my dream of becoming a software engineer. In becoming an Auburn Man, I have learned the importance of hard work and perseverance. I will continue to uphold these principles throughout this experience and into my future career,” said Malone.

Seth Markum of Franklin, Tennessee, is a retention scholar and is currently working full time within the Department of Defense. During his SMART program Markum will be working at the Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC) in Tullahoma, Tennessee. Markum is currently enrolled in Auburn’s Distance Learning program for his master’s in aerospace engineering with the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.

According to Markum, “for me, being awarded this scholarship was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Working full time and then attending school part time presents a long list of challenges, especially with being four years removed from my undergraduate degree when I started my graduate degree. So, receiving this scholarship and being able to transition to full-time student allows me to fully focus on school and get a lot more out of my classes while also being able to put a lot more in to them.”

Rehman Qureshi of Dothan, Alabama, will work at the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) Information Directorate in Rome, New York. Qureshi is a doctoral candidate in aerospace engineering in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and will focus on logistics and development of mega-constellation decision-making environments during his tenure.

“I’m thrilled to be able to develop my research and apply the skills I’ve acquired while working with Dr. Davide Guzzetti (and many others) in service of the DoD’s mission,” said Qureshi.

Alton Stoute of Opelousas, Louisiana, will work at the U.S. Army DEVCOM Army Research Directorate in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. Stoute is a doctoral candidate in aerospace engineering in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and will focus on material microstructures and computer simulations during his scholarship tenure.

According to Stoute, “The SMART scholarship is the biggest academic achievement I have attained to date and stands as proof that my hard work as well as my family’s faith, support and sacrifices were not in vain. I am excited about this opportunity and look forward to working with everyone involved.”

The Department of Defense is committed to developing the Nation's STEM talent and is the largest employer of federal scientists and engineers with nearly 150,000 civilian STEM employees working across the Department. DoD STEM activities support this mission by providing authentic learning experiences through a variety of education and outreach initiatives, such as the SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program. For over a decade, SMART has trained a highly skilled STEM workforce that competes with the evolving trends of industry to support the next generation of science and technology for our nation.

For more information on the SMART Program or to learn how students can apply, please visit the program’s website. The application is open annually from August through December.

Submitted by: Wade Berry