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Mount Union Physics Alumnus Earns Department of Defense SMART Scholarship

February 04, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC — University of Mount Union alumnus Joshua Leiter ’18 has been awarded the prestigious Department of Defense (DoD) Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship.

The SMART Scholarship is a combined education and workforce development opportunity for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral students to gain technical skills in critical STEM fields, and support the national security mission of the DoD including setting trends in technology and innovation. The program website states that SMART scholars are, “among the most talented and innovative minds in STEM with a mission to support the United States and protect national security.” 

Leiter is currently pursuing his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics at Utah State University, where he works on research in general relativity and gravitation, field theory, and geometric methods in physics with his research advisor.  

Upon earning his Ph.D. in Physics, Leiter will be placed with the DoD as a civilian employee. Hundreds of STEM students apply for this scholarship each year and only approximately 13% of those applicants receive the award. 

“This scholarship is a big step, and I was especially thankful for all of the written and oral communication practice I received in the Mount Union physics program,” Leiter said. “Altogether, I felt very well prepared for graduate school and have given many presentations to date, even winning an ‘Outstanding Graduate Student Presentation’ award in 2019 at the APS 4-Corners section.”

Learn more | Physics