University of Richmond Sophomore Leah Ghazali Awarded Highly Competitive, Full-Tuition DoD SMART Scholarship

Award Includes Full-Time Employment After Graduation
May 4, 2022

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — Leah Ghazali, a sophomore from Westwood, Massachusetts, has been awarded the Department of Defense Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation Scholarship, also known as the SMART award. Ghazali is only the second UR student to be awarded a SMART scholarship.

The highly competitive SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program is a combined educational and workforce development opportunity for bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. students to gain technical skills in critical STEM fields and support national security.

The award provides students with full tuition for up to five years, mentorship, summer internships, a stipend, and full-time employment after graduation at one of more than 200 research labs across the Army, Navy, Air Force and larger Department of Defense network.

Ghazali, who is double majoring in mathematics and cognitive science, plans to pursue a career in data science and has been matched with a lab in Newport, Rhode Island.

“Data science is the future, and I am eager to partake in it,” said Ghazali. “With the help of the DoD, I believe I can further build skills necessary for a career in data science, while also contributing my knowledge and current skills to help effectively deliver essential information to maintain and strengthen the defense of our country.”

“This is fabulous news for Leah, our department, and UR,” said Professor of Mathematics Kathy Hoke. “The SMART scholarship program supports the nation’s top science and engineering students, and includes employment at a DoD research facility for two years after graduation — exactly the kind of job our majors are looking for.”