Aerospace engineering student receives U.S. Department of Defense scholarship


By Tessa M. Pick

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — David Schwab, doctoral student in aerospace engineering at Penn State, has been awarded the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship.

This scholarship will fund Schwab’s education and provide opportunities for summer internships, a stipend and full-time employment with the DoD after graduation.

Since its launch in 2005, the SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program has awarded more than 3,000 SMART scholarships and supported more than 2,000 graduates from 409 universities as they begin their professional careers. The program provides students with the opportunity to gain technical skills while also supporting the mission of the DoD by employing the students at one of more than 200 national laboratories.

During the summers prior to his graduation, Schwab will be interning with the Space Vehicles Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base (AFB) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he will work with a mentor to prepare him for a full-time position at Kirtland AFB after graduation.

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity and the recognition,” Schwab said. “I am excited to collaborate with my sponsoring facility.”

Schwab said he is looking forward to being a part of this facility as space-based research continues to progress.

“I am really excited to get to contribute to the cutting-edge, space-based research going on at the Space Vehicles Directorate, especially now as space is having a bit of a resurgence in both industry and defense,” Schwab said.

At Kirtland AFB, Schwab will be conducting research related to his current work at Penn State. Schwab’s research specifically focuses on space situational awareness, sensor tasking and tracking of maneuvering satellites. Schwab works in the Control and Analysis of Stochastic Systems (CASS) Lab at Penn State, where he is advised by Puneet Singla, professor of aerospace engineering.

Schwab earned his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in aerospace engineering from Penn State.

“I cannot thank Penn State, the Graduate School and especially the faculty and staff in the aerospace engineering department enough,” Schwab said. “The faculty have helped me immensely in pursuing my research goals and giving me the technical skills and knowledge to succeed.”


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Megan Lakatos

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David Schwab, doctoral student in aerospace engineering at Penn State, recently received the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship. IMAGE: PROVIDED BY DAVID SCHWAB