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Mount St. Mary’s Amanda Yeung Awarded SMART Scholarship

Donna Klinger

Amanda Yeung

Amanda Yeung, a junior cybersecurity and data science major in Mount St. Mary’s University’s School of Natural Science and Mathematics, is known for her effortless strikes as a member of the university’s NCAA Division I nationally ranked bowling team. The “strike” that she hit in being awarded a Department of Defense Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship matters the most of any she has ever achieved. She is believed to be the first Mount recipient of the SMART Scholarship.

This highly competitive award provides Yeung with full tuition for up to five years, mentorship, summer internships, a stipend and full-time employment with the Department of Defense after graduation. This unique opportunity offers students hands-on experience at one of more than 200 innovative laboratories across the Army, Navy, Air Force and larger Department of Defense. During summer internships, SMART scholars work directly with an experienced mentor, gaining valuable technical skills. After graduation and the internship process, Yeung will work at the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington, DC.

"This scholarship means a lot to me because of all the opportunities that it opens,” Yeung said. “I will be gaining an internship in the summer and will have a guaranteed job when I get out due to their scholarship-for-service program."

Yeung currently works in the Networking Department for the Mount’s Security Operations Center and will spend this summer working there. She also worked in the Information Technology Support Center (ITSC) in her sophomore year. The DOD internship will occur next summer. “I am very grateful for both ITSC and the networking opportunity since they are both within my field of interest,” she said.

Introduced to the Mount by Bowling Coach Kenneth DeGraaf, Yeung is grateful for the opportunities that the bowling team has brought her to compete at a high level, travel and meet other athletes as well as the opportunities precipitated by cocurricular activities and faculty support. She is active in the Cyber Defense Club and Women in Computing.

“I highly recommend Women in Computing to any woman in the STEM field because its advisor is a wonderful professor, Professor (Rebecca) Portier,” Yeung advised.  “She helps us out in so many ways, with finding an internship and job prep, providing many opportunities of office hours, motivational talks and more.” Portier and Athar Rafiq, both assistant professors in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, wrote recommendation letters in support of Yeung’s SMART Scholarship application.

Noting that the cybersecurity and data science double major path is difficult because it involves minimal overlap between degree requirements, Portier described Yeung as “an individual that continually challenges herself to never back away from difficult material, and to constantly strive to gain knowledge and confidence.”

“I believe her focus, attention to detail, and inherent drive will prove highly beneficial to advancing in a positive fashion our country’s future direction related to data science and cybersecurity applications,” Portier said.

The Department of Defense is the largest employer of federal scientists and engineers with nearly 150,000 civilian STEM employees working across the Department. For over a decade, SMART has trained a highly skilled STEM workforce that competes with the evolving trends of industry to support the next generation of science and technology.

The SMART Program application is open annually from August through December. The university’s Office of Competitive Fellowships is available to help students apply for this program as well as other highly competitive and distinguished awards such as the Fulbright, Marshall, Rhodes, Goldwater and Gate Cambridge Scholarships.

Donna Klinger