DoD SMART Scholarship Success Story

DoD SMART Scholarship Success Story

SMART Scholar shares how program impacted his life

September 5, 2018 - The Science, Mathematics And Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service Program is an opportunity for students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in STEM disciplines to receive a full scholarship and be gainfully employed by the DoD upon degree completion. More information is available at

Agency: Department of the Navy: Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Corona Division, Range Systems Engineering Department
Name: Ramiro Rodriguez, B.S. Electrical Engineering, University of California, Santa Cruz
Mission: Systems Engineering & Support of the Test and Evaluation (T&E) Community

Significant Contribution: Mr. Rodriguez currently serves as a communications engineer at the NSWC Corona Division. His work includes design and test performance parameters for radio frequency hardware and telecommunication systems for Navy training ranges, designing Public Address (PA) systems at live firing ranges for the Marine Corps, and supporting the Department of Defense in electromagnetic spectrum usage and relocation. As an undergraduate, Rodriguez participated in the Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program (NREIP), and interned for three consecutive summers at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWAR) Pacific in San Diego, California. In 2016, he joined NSWC Corona through the SMART program. His interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is employing the laws of physics to enable reliable communications (via optics, RF, acoustics, etc.) in the challenging and contested domains that our warfighters face. Rodriguez plans to continue his education with a goal of earning his Ph.D. in either physics or electrical engineering. He was recently accepted into the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Next Gen Leadership Program designed to develop future leaders, and contributes his success to the SMART program, which has acted as platform for future opportunities to enhance his career.

What was your favorite part about participating in the SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program?
“My favorite part from the SMART program is the level of exposure I gained about the DoD enterprise. There are plenty of areas to still explore within the DoD, but at least I did not have a cold start into my government career. I believe that the most important feature that the SMART program has offered me aside from financial assistance and a secured job, is the mentors that have shaped my government career. My participation during three summer internships at SPAWAR Pacific granted me mentors and professional experience that granted me technical confidence and maturity.”

How has the SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program impacted your life?
“The SMART program has impacted my life not only financially and professionally, but to a personal level. I have good communication with the SMART program managers and mentors I have been advised from which gives me a sense of community within the DoD. Because it was through the SMART program that I joined the DoD, it has impacted my life and career goals, for which I am very grateful. From the very moment I got the acceptance letter from the SMART program, I have been always committed and motivated to do my best and support as much as I am able to the mission of the DoD and our warfighters. This momentum has taken me to interesting work and collaborations while promoting innovation.”