AFMC hosts first SMART Symposium, highlighting civilian career opportunties

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WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio—Selected scholars and senior leaders across Department of Defense attended the first Science and Mathematics for Research Transformation (SMART) Scholar Symposium July 18-19 at Wright-Patterson AFB.

Sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and hosted by the Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) Engineering and Technical Management Directorate, the two-day action packed event featured introductions, demonstrations and presentations from the Air Force, Army, Navy, DoD SMART Program and several universities.

The SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program is aimed to increase the number of highly skilled technical scientists and engineers working at DoD facilities and agencies. Scholarships are awarded to applicants who are pursuing an undergraduate, masters, and doctoral degree in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), according to the SMART Program officials.

“AFMC is the second largest major command of the Air Force, employing approximately 80,000 civilian and active duty military members across the United States and overseas. It is approximately 80 percent civilians and 20 percent military. AFMC employs approximately 40 percent of all civilians in the USAF,” said Gail Forest, Director of Engineering and Technical Management at AFMC.

AFMC employs some of the brightest scientist and engineers in the Air Force. “There are approximately 18,000 scientists and engineers in the Air Force, 77 percent reside in AFMC and 84 percent of them are civilians,” said Forest.

SMART students not only receive an education, but also a civilian career. Post-degree service commitment corresponds with the length of the scholarship received. The application process normally opens in August and closes in December, according to the SMART program officials.

During the two-day event, SMART Scholars from across the nation gave talks on cutting edge technology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science held communication science workshops during the course of the symposium. Scholars were treated to tour the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center and the Air Force Research Laboratory, home to the innovation of air, space and cyberspace technology. A poster session was held as a part of the Wright Dialogue with Industry, a community partnership with Dayton Defense.

A luncheon hosted by senior leaders across DoD gave scholars quality time with their respective service leaders to ask questions about available opportunities. The guest speaker was Brig. Gen. Christopher Azzano, Director of Air, Space and Cyberspace Operations at AFMC.

The SMART program offers:

• Full tuition/fees paid up to five years

• Annual stipend from $25K-$38K

• Summer internships

• Post-graduate career opportunities

The symposium concluded with a look ahead session and a recognition ceremony lead by Ms. Chris Deckard, OSD SMART Program Manager. For additional information on the SMART program, go online to https://smart.asee.org.