News | Oct 5, 2017

Defense Department recruiting MSU students for civilian science and technology careers

TechLink encourages students to apply for scholarship, serve the nation

News Article Image of Defense Department recruiting MSU students for civilian science and technology careers

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

BOZEMAN – Civilian representatives of the Department of Defense, as part of the federal government’s science and technology enterprise, are recruiting Montana State University students for a prestigious scholarship that guarantees a job in a DoD laboratory.

The DoD’s SMART scholarship channels highly skilled scholars in areas critical to national security into federal service. The program pays a student’s tuition, healthcare, books, and a cash stipend in exchange for a one-year commitment to bring their talents into one of the 150 participating DoD 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 on Tuesday afternoon. There’s about 38,000 civilian scientists and engineers who serve behind the scenes developing products like computer networks that keep our forces safe, she told the students.

Deckard and Deputy Program Manager Tylar Temple toured the MSU campus Wednesday, including a stop at TechLink, the university’s main outreach arm to the technology sector and a Department of Defense partnership organization.  Students in TechLink’s Software Engineering & Analysis Lab, which supports DoD software programs with quality and security assurance testing, were told about the scholarship.

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

The SMART scholarship’s annual stipend totals $24,000 for an undergraduate student, $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 DoD after their service commitment.

Interested students should meet Deckard and Temple at MSU’s Fall Career Fair in the Strand Union Building on Thursday, Oct. 5, and visit for more information.

Troy Carter can be reached at or 406-994-7798.

Headshot Image of Quinton King, PhD, CLP

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