Two VCU College of Engineering undergraduates have received Science, Math and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarships for 2021-22. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) established the highly competitive SMART Scholarship program to support the nation’s top science and engineering students.
As SMART Scholars, Lois Appiah, a junior majoring in computer science, and Sekai Clayton, a junior majoring in electrical engineering, will receive full tuition for up to five years, summer internships, a stipend and full-time employment with the DoD after graduation. This opportunity offers students hands-on experience at one of more than 200 of the nation’s most innovative Army, Navy, Air Force and larger DoD laboratories. During summer internships, SMART Scholars work with an experienced mentor to gain valuable technical skills.
Meet Lois Appiah and Sekai Clayton
Junior, Computer Science
Hometown: Lorton, Virginia
Research interests: Computer science education and natural language processing.
Involved in: National Society of Black Engineers, Society of Women Engineers, Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation.
After graduation: Will work at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia.
Career goal: To earn a master’s degree before entering the industry full time.
Outside the lab: Coding, crafting and reading.
Fun fact: Was born on a military base in Italy.
Junior, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Hometown: Woodbridge, Virginia
Research interests: Cybersecurity and radio frequencies.
Involved in: National Society of Black Engineers, Alpha Phi Omega.
After graduation: Will work with the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Patuxent River, Maryland.
Career goal: To attend grad school while in the SMART program and have a career in the DoD.
Outside the lab: Basketball, running and collecting manga comics.
Fun fact: Was born on a military base in Japan.