Grad student receives SMART scholarship


Kearney native Shannon Killion, a graduate student in the College of Engineering, accepted a scholarship through the Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service Program, part of the American Society of Engineering Education.

The SMART program was established by the U.S. Department of Defense to support undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. It aims to increase the number of civilian scientists and engineers working at Defense Department laboratories. SMART Scholars receive full tuition and education-related benefits, a cash award (from $25,000 to $41,000), paid summer internships, health insurance and book allowances, mentoring and employment placement after they complete the program.

This summer, Killion will attend a SMART Program orientation in Monterey, Calif. A master's degree student in environmental engineering, she works with civil engineering professor John Stansbury on an Environmental Protection Agency grant for sustainable water infrastructure. Killion will use her SMART funding this summer and fall for a College of Engineering study-abroad experience at Lulea, Sweden's University of Technology. She plans to return to UNL in the spring and work the following summer with the U.S. Army Tradoc Analysis Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

The center conducts operations research on a wide range of military topics, some contemporary but most often set five to 15 years in the future. It directly supports the mission of the Army's major command, the Training and Doctrine Command, to develop future concepts and requirements while also serving the decision needs of many military clients.

Killion holds a bachelor's degree in biological systems engineering from UNL. Another UNL biological systems engineering graduate, Michaela McBride, earned a SMART scholarship in 2009 and works with Army labs in Maryland to help improve soldiers' equipment.

- By Carole Wilbeck, Engineering