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Engineering students Nicholas Millen and Zachary Newman have each been awarded a Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship by the U.S. Department of Defense. The awards will provide the students with full tuition for up to five years, in addition to mentorship, summer internships, a stipend, and full-time employment after graduation.

Millen (already a member of the Air National Guard) will work at Robins Air Force Base near Macon, Georgia. Newman will work at Missile Defense Agency in Huntsville.

Interestingly, both students came to UAB to study biomedical engineering, but both switched their majors after gaining experience in mechanical and materials engineering.

Newman changed to materials engineering after interning in the UAB Materials Processing and Applications Development (MPAD) facility, where he focused on polymer matrix composites materials. About the opportunities presented by the SMART Scholarship, Newman said, “I’m truly honored to be selected for this prestigious scholarship program."

Millen says his strong background in math led him to choose biomedical engineering as a major, but that changed when he began working with Air Force jets and weapons systems during Tech School with the Air Force. “When I went to Basic Training in February of 2021, I was still a biomedical engineering student,” Millen said. “When I started Tech School, I noticed that everything on the outside of the jets was from Lockheed Martin, and most of the parts from the motors and systems we took apart were from General Electric. I was like, man, I want to work with one of those companies.”

Millen and Newman are the third and fourth UAB Engineering students to receive SMART Scholarships over the past four years, after graduate students Jordan Whitson (ME) and Austin Stump (CCEE) received scholarships in 2019 and 2021, respectively.