Freshman engineering student earns Department of Defense SMART Scholarship

Vanderbilt freshman Evelyn Marx has been selected as a SMART Scholar by the U.S. Department of Defense. The Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation Award is designed to enhance the DoD workforce with “talented, innovative and brilliant scientists, engineers and researchers” by supporting students like Marx, an electrical engineering and physics major from Columbus, Ohio.

Evelyn Marx

The award provides students with mentorship, summer internships, a stipend, and full-time employment with the DOD after graduation. When Marx graduates in 2025 she will work at the Missile Defense Agency in Huntsville, Alabama.

The opportunity offers students hands-on experience at one of over 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.

“It is my honor and privilege to accept this generous award and do my part in supporting the MDA’s mission of defending the United States, its deployed forces, allies, and friends from missile attacks in all phases of flight,” Marx said.

Marx is currently studying electrical engineering and physics with a focus in radiation-hardened microelectronics. She is a research assistant in Vanderbilt’s Institute for Space and Defense Electronics’ radiation effects technology component of a multimillion-dollar consortium—SCalable Asymmetric Lifecycle Engagement—funded by the Office of Under Secretary of Defense. The SCALE program focuses on future workforce needs in secure microelectronics systems. Marx’s current research is a collaboration between Vanderbilt University and Purdue University researchers.

“I am confident that my education from Vanderbilt University’s School of Engineering will prepare me well to join this most critical organization for our country. I would like to sincerely thank the Department of Defense for granting me this opportunity, Professor Michael Alles for his mentorship, and my dear family and friends for their support,” Marx said.

At Vanderbilt, Marx has served as public relations chair of the IEEE chapter and currently serves as vice president of programing for Vanderbilt Women in Computing. She is a member of Zeta Tau Alpha, Society of Women Engineers and the Society of Physics Students. Marx has begun a two-year Co-Op, to be completed this summer, at Mid-City Electric/Technologies in Westerville, Ohio, as a BIM operator and preconstruction intern engaged in 2D and 3D layouts of electrical systems.

The Department of Defense 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.

Contact: Brenda Ellis, 615 343-6314