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​Beley ’12 Receives National Department of Defense Scholarship

1beley-pic-main.jpgProvidence, R.I.--Providence College student Catherine Beley ’12 (Hilton Head, S.C.) has been awarded a Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).

Beley, who has a 3.76 GPA as a mathematics major and an applied physics minor, was one of just 300 award recipients from among more than 3,200 applicants for the prestigious scholarship.

Part of the National Defense Education Program, the SMART program uses DOD dollars to fund the college education of science and engineering students who are U.S. citizens. In exchange, the recipients take paid summer internships in defense labs and agree to work for a DOD lab for one year for each year of college support.

The program was created in 2005 to offset the high retirement numbers of military civilian lab scientists. The scholarship is available to all undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students pursuing degrees in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines.

In addition to the tuition payments and the paid summer internship, Beley receives a cash award, health insurance reimbursement, a book allowance, mentoring, and employment placement after graduation.

Beley, who is a member of the Liberal Arts Honors Program and an Admission Ambassador, learned of the scholarship after seeing a flyer for the program in Sowa Hall.

“I was immediately interested. I always felt like I had a calling to do something for the government,” said Beley, who is also a Friars Club member. “When I saw this opportunity was focused on math and physics, I thought it seemed like an awesome experience all the way around.”

Following the spring semester, Beley will spend eight weeks as a cost estimating analyst at Hanscom Air Force Base, which is located near Lexington, Mass. Her duties will be centered on studying the cost of large-scale, long-term DOD projects. After she graduates from PC in 2012, she will spend two years in the same position.

“The job experience is going to be invaluable,” Beley said. “I’m excited about the connections that I will make, and I hope that it helps to direct my career path.”

She added, “This seems like a dream. This scholarship gives me a lot to strive for and a lot of direction. I count my blessings every day that I was chosen.”

Faculty member praises "total package"

Dr. Lynne M. Lawson, assistant professor of physics, said it was “no mystery” why Beley received the SMART Scholarship. Lawson, who wrote a recommendation letter for Beley, recounted the process in which Beley quickly and gracefully navigated the multi-step application process--even sending her a “thank you” note afterward for writing the letter--as an example of why she is the “total package.”

“Catherine is smart, organized, mature, polite, conscientious, and confident,” Lawson said. “Obviously, Catherine is a bright girl but when you pair her intelligence with these other personal qualities, you get an idea of what makes her so impressive. It also makes it clear why she would be able to earn such a prestigious scholarship.”

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