By Troy Barnes – Nov. 5, 2018
For millennia, a country’s defense resources have generally been concentrated on developing arms. As recently as the 1980s, the U.S. was embroiled in a nuclear arms race with some of the world’s biggest superpowers. But as technology has advanced, so have the means by which enemies attempt to infiltrate foreign political and economic systems. Not only do the U.S. and its allies still face threats of nuclear, chemical, and naval warfare on a daily basis, they must also prevent cyberterrorist attacks that can decimate stock markets and destroy physical and political infrastructure.
To accomplish these dual defense tracks, the Department of Defense (DoD) has renewed its focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs, offering generous incentives to encourage study in these areas and to recruit new graduates who have unique STEM expertise. Learn more about the DoD’s investment in a wide range of STEM initiatives.
Scholarships and Fellowships
Many college students who would like to concentrate in STEM may qualify for lucrative scholarships. Meanwhile, post-graduates in a STEM field of study can obtain a Ph.D. free of charge and have their living expenses covered while in graduate school.
The Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) program offers current college students a full-tuition scholarship for pursuit of a STEM major in exchange for their commitment to work for the DoD for a period of time after graduation. SMART participants can qualify for military and government internships while still in school, boosting their skills and allowing them to experience military decisionmaking in a way few students can.
Stokes Educational Scholarship Program
This scholarship program focuses on recruiting minority high school students who are planning to attend college and major in computer science or computer and electrical engineering. Eligible students can receive a tuition scholarship of up to $30,000 per year (or $15,000 per semester) and spend their summers working for the National Security Agency (NSA).
Those who are seeking a doctoral degree in any of 15 separate STEM disciplines may be able to apply for the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship. This three-year fellowship allows recipients to receive full tuition reimbursement along with a monthly stipend to cover living expenses and an allowance for health insurance.
In addition to its generous scholarships, the DoD sponsors the eCYBERMISSION program, a web-based competition for 6th to 9th-grade students. Each year, student teams solve scientific problems and engineer solutions for issues facing their hometowns; from robotics design to food supply chain problems. By competing for state-level, regional, and national awards, these student teams can enhance their passion for STEM while improving their odds of being accepted into the most selective colleges.