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Nick St.Pierre–SMART Scholarship

Name: Nick St. Pierre

Class Year: 2021

Hometown: Roanoke, VA

Major(s): Engineering

Minors or Concentrations: Computer Science

Opportunity and Year: SMART (Science, Math and Research for Transformation) Scholarship Service Program, 2019-21

Project Summary: SMART is a program with the U.S. Department of Defense that reaches out to college STEM students throughout the country. Its main goal is to recruit the brightest individuals to become civilian scientists/engineers for the Department of Defense. The program places you at a DoD facility to which you will perform summer internships and work post-graduation in the field of your major.

 

How did W&L prepare you for this opportunity? One of my deciding factors for attending W&L was the ability to pursue an Engineering degree while taking classes in the arts like Arabic and Theater. Because of this, I am confident in saying I might bring a broader set of skills to the program than if I had attended a different school for an engineering degree.

On top of this, the wonderful faculty of the Physics & Engineering and Computer Science Departments here at W&L have always stretched the horizon of my knowledge in both Engineering and Computer Science.

Why did you apply for this opportunity? My father had heard about this opportunity from a colleague of his and relayed it as a something I should look into. My family has had a history of service in the Armed Forces, so naturally after looking into SMART I gained interest relatively quickly. My grandfather was an engineer who helped develop fuel systems for airplanes like the B-2 Stealth Bomber; having spent time around his work when I was little, I was enticed by design and engineering. I think SMART will provide me with the best opportunity to follow in his footsteps to participate in designing systems or vehicles for our armed forces.

Post-graduation Plans: One of the unique parts of SMART is that after graduation, you are immediately employed where you have performed your internships over the summers. I will be headed to Warren, Michigan to work at the U.S. Army CCDC Ground Vehicle Systems Center to perform research and development on the Army’s future ground vehicles and systems within those vehicles. There is a chance that I will pursue graduate school for Engineering, at that point I will reapply to SMART for retention and continue with internships until graduate school is complete. After graduate school, I would still be employed to SMART for however many years I was in school.

How will this opportunity help you achieve your goals? This opportunity helps achieve my goals by laying a basis of research and experience with Engineering where I can then pursue an Engineering position in private sector defense companies.

Extracurricular Involvement:

Men’s Varsity Soccer
Career Fellow
Robotics Club
Phi Zeta Delta Fraternity

Off-campus Experience:

Study Abroad in Rabat, Morocco: Spent 8-weeks over the summer living in the capital of Morocco studying classical Arabic while immersing in Moroccan culture.

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