Montana State University

Defense Department recruiting MSU students for civilian science and technology careers

October 12, 2017 -- Troy Carter, MSU TechLink for the News Service

Tylar Temple, left, and Christina Deckard, talk to MSU students about the SMART scholarship in the Strand Union Building on Oct. 3. Photo by Troy Carter/MSU TechLink.

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN — Civilian representatives of the Department of Defense, as part of the federal government’s science and technology enterprise, are seeking Montana State University students to apply for a scholarship  that guarantees a job in a defense laboratory.

The DOD’s SMART scholarship channels skilled scholars in areas critical to national security into federal service. The program pays for tuition, health care and books and provides a stipend in exchange for a one-year commitment to bring their talents into one of 150 participating defense department labs.

“We pay for everything, and when you graduate you have a civilian job at a military lab,” Christina Deckard, manager of the Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation program, told a group of MSU students during a recent visit . About 38,000 civilian scientists and engineers serve behind the scenes developing products such as computer networks that keep American forces safe, she said.

Deckard and Tylar Temple, deputy program manager, toured the MSU campus last week, including a stop at TechLink, the university’s main outreach arm to the technology sector and a Department of Defense partnership organization. They also met MSU students in TechLink’s Software Engineering and Analysis Lab, which supports defense software programs with quality and security assurance testing.

Four MSU students have previously won the competitive scholarship. Applicants must be students pursuing a degree in one of 19 fields with a 3.0 GPA or better. The application window for 2018 opened Aug. 1 and closes Dec. 1.

The SMART scholarship’s annual stipend totals $24,000 for undergraduate students, $33,000 for graduate students and $38,000 for doctoral students.

The scholarship program began in 2006. In the current year, about 2,400 students applied to the program nationwide. A total of 343 of them won scholarships, along with summer internships in secure defense laboratories.

About 75 percent of SMART scholars have decided to continue their career with the department after their service commitment.

Interested students should visit for more information.

Troy Carter, TechLink, or 406-994-7798