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Immediate Release

DoD Awards 2021 STEM Scholars

The Department of Defense (DoD) Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Program recently announced awards to 416 SMART scholars as part of its 2021 cohort.  The 2021 cohort is comprised of students representing 184 colleges and universities, and is the largest and most diverse in the program’s 15 year history.

SMART is a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) focused scholarship-for-service program and is one of the largest education and workforce initiatives under DoD STEM - the Department’s comprehensive K-20 STEM education and talent development effort.

SMART is empowered to make full-tuition awards during any phase of a scholar’s education in a regionally accredited U.S. university or college.  The program sponsors undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral study in 21 academic disciplines critical to national security and DoD’s future.  Upon graduation, students move directly into employment at DoD facilities.  Awards can be made during any phase of a scholar’s education and vary in length from a minimum of one to a maximum of five years.  The service commitment is one year of DoD employment for each academic year of SMART funding.  Since its inception in 2006, the program has awarded more than 3,700 scholarships. 

While the SMART Program does not make awards directly to DoD modernization priority areas, the majority of its scholars are pursuing foundational academic studies in disciplines that directly feed into modernization efforts. Upon graduation, scholars from the 2021 cohort will be employed at one of more than 100 selecting DoD laboratories or agencies.

“We are very proud of all the 416 recipients of this prestigious scholarship,” said Mr. Louie Lopez, DoD STEM Director. “I look to forward to seeing these next generation of STEM leaders’ contributions to the Department and the Nation.”

To learn more about the SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program and the participating DoD sponsoring facilities, visit

To learn more about the Department’s comprehensive K-20 STEM education and talent development effort, visit

Interested in becoming a SMART scholar?  The application period for the 2022 SMART scholar cohort begins August 1, 2021 and ends December 1, 2021. More information can be found on the website.