Lois Appiah and Sekai Clayton
Lois Appiah and Sekai Clayton

Two VCU Engineering juniors awarded SMART Scholarships for 2021-22

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

Lois Appiah

“I would like to express my gratitude in receiving this opportunity. This scholarship will not only give me the guidance and resources to succeed in the professional world, but it will also create a path for me to make a long-lasting impact.”

Lois Appiah

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.

Sekai Clayton

“No one is truly self-made. Without the support of many, I would not be in this position. To my family, friends and faculty, I credit my achievement.”

Sekai Clayton

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.

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