Williamsport, Pennsylvania – A Lycoming College student has secured a spot in a Department of Defense (DoD) program that provides funding and guarantees placement with the DoD.
Katherine Travis of Bernville, Pennsylvania, an astrophysics major and international public policy minor, is the first Lycoming College student to earn a spot in the DoD’s SMART Scholarship program, which combines educational and developmental opportunities workforce for STEM students.
The highly competitive program is designed to provide STEM students with full scholarships, annual stipends, summer internships, and guaranteed civilian employment with the DoD upon graduation.
By providing nationwide scholarships, the SMART program gives scholars the opportunity to work at DoD facilities on complex research alongside scientists and engineers, preparing students like Travis for full-time employment. “I believe this program will open many doors for me and provide me with unforeseen opportunities,” she said.
Travis was selected to study at the US Army’s C5ISR DEVCOM Center at Fort Belvoir, Va., where she will work with her peers on the development of underground explosives detection technology for the military.
The internship will begin in the summer of 2023, allowing her to learn and gain experience for the following year where she will work as a full-time employee. As part of the program, she will also be able to work towards her master’s degree.
Travis discovered the program during her senior year of high school when she was applying to colleges that offered astrophysics programs. “I thought it was a great opportunity to gain experience in my field of study and contribute something that will have an impact, not to mention being able to start my career early,” Travis said. .
During her freshman year at Lycoming, she received a student research grant to work with physics professor Christopher Kulp, Ph.D., on a project involving machine learning to classify songs by genre. She learned about machine learning algorithms, best practices, preparing data for analysis, and programming in python, a language she had never used before.
“I’m very excited for Katherine,” Kulp said. “With the project, she has done a great job rapidly accelerating the python programming language so that she can tackle the machine learning aspects. This SMART Scholarship-for-Service program is a wonderful opportunity for her.