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Electrical engineering student wins full scholarship from Department of Defense

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Joaquin Massa

Joaquin Massa

KINGSVILLE (February 1, 2023) — A Texas A&M University-Kingsville electrical engineering major recently received a full scholarship from the United States Department of Defense (DOD). Joaquin Massa, a senior from Edinburg, received the Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation Scholarship (SMART Scholarship).


The award provides full tuition for up to five years, mentorship, summer internships, a stipend and full-time employment with the DOD after graduation. It is open to anyone in a STEM field.


“This scholarship is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity where you are lifted from the responsibility of working and attending school, as many students have to do, and allows you to just focus on your schoolwork all while getting paid for it,” Massa said. “This is also on top of the fact that you are guaranteed an internship every summer and a secured job with federal benefits after you graduate.”


The scholarship will pay for Massa’s final semester as an undergraduate and for the time it takes him to get his master’s degree in the Fast Track program in the Frank H. Dotterweich College of Engineering. As part of the SMART program, upon completion of his graduate work, he will be employed by the DOD for the same number of years as the scholarship paid for his tuition.


The Fast Track program at Texas A&M-Kingsville allows high-achieving and gifted undergraduates to include master’s level courses in their degree plans and to be automatically admitted to one of the participating graduate programs in the College of Engineering. This allows students to earn both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in about five years of full-time study.


As part of the program, Massa listed the top three places he wanted to work and has been chosen to work as a civilian electrical engineer with the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Philadelphia. He will work in Power Systems, specifically on destroyers and battleships. Once he completes the program, Massa may choose to remain there or take employment elsewhere.


“My dream job in electrical engineering would be in the semiconductor field. The idea of working with a team to create cutting-edge technology that grants us the ability to make a better integrated chip or processor excites me,” he said. “It’s what allows companies like Apple, Intel, AMD and more to make their new products every year, paving the way for the future.”


Massa is originally from Kingsville, but he attended high school in Edinburg and received his associate’s degree in engineering from South Texas College in the Rio Grande Valley. He will receive his bachelor’s degree in May 2023 and is on target to receive his master’s degree in May 2024.


About the Department of Defense and the SMART program

The Department of Defense is committed to developing the nation’s STEM talent and is the largest employer of federal scientists and engineers with nearly 150,000 civilian STEM employees working across the department.


DOD STEM activities support this mission by providing authentic learning experiences through a variety of education and outreach initiatives, such as the SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program. 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 for our nation.


The SMART Scholarship-to-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 the national security mission of the DOD.



Category: General Univ , Engineering

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