Carnegie Mellon University

Kevin LoGrande

May 04, 2020

LoGrande Named DoD SMART Scholar

PhD student Kevin LoGrande was recently named a SMART (Science, Math, and Research for Transformation) Scholar by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). LoGrande will receive research and educational funding, a summer internship, and a guaranteed position with the DoD after graduation.

The program was created to enhance the DoD workforce with “talented, innovative and brilliant scientists, engineers and researchers,” according to the program website. Awardees spend summers in paid internships working for the DoD inside labs and agencies of the Army, Navy, or Air Force.

LoGrande will spend his summer internship at an Army research lab in Aberdeen, MD. “I’m excited that this program provides funding in what I want to research during the school year,” he says. “Knowing I have job placement after graduation is also a big relief—it provides stability.”

While he couldn’t apply for a specific position, LoGrande says that the program application asked him to match his talents to locations he thought would be a good fit.

“I’ll be working with a specialist in surrogate modeling, which is a way of simplifying and reducing the complexities of mathematical modeling.” On the application, he spoke to his versatility—emphasizing his knowledge in finite element analysis, math, and continuum mechanics. “I wanted them to see that my skills in both numerical and analytical methods are widely applicable.”

LoGrande is grateful to his advisor, Kaushik Dayal, for the support he’s given throughout the process. LoGrande explains that he went directly from undergraduate work to his PhD studies, and Dayal provided a crash course to get him up to speed in numerical techniques and math. “I’ve never learned more than I did in my first year at CEE,” he states, adding Dayal’s assistance gave him the background needed to earn the scholarship.

LoGrande especially cites his courses in Finite Element Methods, Numerical Methods in Engineering, and Math Techniques as being beneficial to his academic success. His work with the DoD begins this summer, but until then, LoGrande is excited at the prospect of having his research funded. “The research I do during the academic year could line up with what I do in Maryland—or it could not. That part is up to me. Freedom to choose my path is one of the reasons that I applied for this scholarship.”