USACEHR's First SMART Student Graduates and Starts Work
The U.S. Army Center for Environmental Health Research welcomes Dr. Jason Koontz, a Science, Mathematics & Research Transformation student, to full-time federal service.
The SMART Scholarship for Service Program is an opportunity for both undergraduate and graduate students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics disciplines to receive a full scholarship and transition to employment upon degree completion.
In 2009, Dr. Jason Koontz was an undergraduate student intern working at USACEHR. Jason was a senior in college and had already decided to pursue a graduate degree in biochemistry and molecular biology. Lt. Col. Matthew Schofield, USACEHR's commander at the time, introduced Jason to the SMART program and encouraged him to apply.
After deciding to attend the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and joining their graduate program in biochemistry and molecular biology, he was notified of his acceptance into the SMART program, the second in the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.
Not only did the SMART program offer a better stipend than the University, but it allowed Koontz to join as a 'retention' student, which enabled him to maintain his relationship with USACEHR throughout the course of his graduate work.
Throughout the years, commanders and program directors at USACEHR maintained support for the investment. Today, Col. Thomas C. Timmes, commander of USACEHR, is proud to report that Jason completed 'Phase I' of the SMART program and is now entering 'Phase II,' where he will join the Environmental Health Program.