Two WKU STEM students awarded Department of Defense SMART scholarships
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Two Western Kentucky University students have been awarded the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship.
The SMART Scholarship is a scholarship-for-service. The SMART Scholarship funds full tuition, a living stipend, a health insurance allowance, a miscellaneous allowance, summer internships, and provides recipients with an experienced mentor. After recipients complete their degree requirements, they begin working in a civilian position for their sponsoring DoD facility.
Chloe Cooper of Louisville is the daughter of Jean Heeb and Barry Cooper. She majors in Geography and Environmental Sciences in WKU’s Department of Earth, Environmental and Atmospheric Studies. Cooper will use her scholarship to complete her undergraduate degree at WKU while interning in Alexandria, Virginia.
“I’ll be working at the Army Corps of Engineers’ Institute for Water Resources, which will allow me to utilize my love of water and its resources to help people,” Cooper said. “I’ve always wanted to work with water management and resources and now I get to do that in my dream job!”
Cooper has been mentored by Dr. Leslie North in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Atmospheric Studies at WKU during her undergraduate studies. She is pursuing certifications in Emergency Management Disaster Science and Geographic Information Science (GIS), and while in graduate school will be researching flooding events in the hopes of mitigating the damage they cause.
Lee-Lee Knupp of Russell is the daughter of Ellen and Matthew Knupp and is a 2020 graduate of the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky.
While studying at WKU, Knupp conducted research with Dr. Molly Dunkum of the WKU Department of Mathematics over the past two years examining the Fibonacci Array. She presented outcomes from her work last academic year at the 39th Annual WKU Mathematics Symposium and at the 50th WKU Student Research Conference.
“I am very thankful to my mentor at WKU, Dr. Molly Dunkum, for giving me my start in research and finding a project that I really enjoyed,” Knupp said.
Knupp will be continuing her studies at the Ohio State University majoring in Mathematics and Statistics and will intern with the Army Test and Evaluation Command at the Army Evaluation Center in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.
Both students received support from the WKU Office of Scholar Development and the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky as they learned about the scholarship and navigated the application procedures.
“I really don’t think that I would have gotten this award without the help of the OSD advisors,” Cooper said. “I’d really like to thank them for all of their help. Receiving this award was the most wonderful feeling.”
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