Engineering student is gaining real-world experience through a SMART scholarship – VCU News

Sekai Clayton finds living on his have for the to start with time a stimulating, enjoyable obstacle. The soaring senior is modifying to his new Sensible summer months internship with the U.S. Department of Defense in Northern Virginia.

“I have worked in advance of and am assured in my expertise as an engineer, but mastering a healthy get the job done-lifetime harmony when you will have to offer for yourself is no smaller task,” explained Clayton, who is majoring in electrical engineering in the Virginia Commonwealth University College or university of Engineering and will graduate subsequent spring.

Clayton acquired about the Science, Math and Analysis for Transformation scholarship when he gained an e mail from the VCU National Scholarship Workplace. SMART students get whole tuition, once-a-year stipends, internships and assured work with the DoD immediately after graduation.

“After undertaking a speedy Google lookup, I noticed the gains, and it was an simple conclusion to make,” mentioned Clayton, who labored with the Nationwide Scholarship Office to apply for the award. “I was able to receive this award simply because of Dr. [Gregory E.] Triplett’s mentorship for the duration of COVID. I am at this time fortuitous plenty of to get paid out to entire my degree and obtain authentic do the job working experience to open up new opportunities in the long run. This award is my most noteworthy accomplishment so far, and I just cannot thank those people like Dr. Triplett plenty of for their continual help.”

It’s critical to assist learners of coloration achieve experiences on the security clearance side of the Section of Protection, said Triplett, Ph.D., a professor in the Section of Electrical and Computer system Engineering.

“This is in which the ideal projects reside. Sekai provides new views, and it was my intention to aid increase the competitiveness of his software,” Triplett reported.

Clayton’s analysis at the Department of Defense is generally unclassified but there are factors that are classified, he said.

“I am studying a whole lot about communication, precisely in the large-frequency band. I get to perform with the technology that is loaded into our methods,” he stated.

Clayton’s curiosity in VCU

Clayton didn’t believe about pursing engineering till his senior year in higher university when he took a electronic logic design class and relished it.

“My aptitude for science and math has normally been significant, so I determined to decide on a career path that authorized me to discover this newfound fascination,” he explained.

VCU was not best of brain when he regarded as schools, right until he visited the campus to search at the senior layout projects during the University of Engineering’s Capstone Style Expo.

“I should have gotten missing for an hour, and then it started to rain. Long tale brief, my socks squished on the auto trip property. Even still I had fun. I felt like I was property,” he mentioned. “When I walked down West Primary Avenue that day, I felt it was a area I could mature and turn out to be a greater variation of myself. That is why I decided to arrive to VCU.”

An advisor and mentor

Clayton owes a wonderful offer to Triplett, he mentioned.

Clayton was involved in two plans that Triplett began at VCU — the National Academy of Engineering Sophomore Obstacle, a competition solely for sophomores to suggest an strategy linked to the Nationwide Academy of Engineering Grand Troubles Students Application, and V-4Mation, a mentoring plan for Black adult men in engineering.  

“His wisdom, resourcefulness and willingness to educate make him 1 of the biggest advisors I could have questioned for, and I know he would do it for everyone keen to use them selves to grow to be qualified for their objectives,” Clayton explained of Triplett.

Triplett sees Clayton as a all-natural leader, he explained.

“Sekai is very interested in ongoing improvement. He desires to create results at the forefront of know-how and is committed to gaining encounters that extend his toolbox,” Triplett explained. “I genuinely take pleasure in his generate for excellence and perseverance to strengthening communities.” 

Clayton’s placement with the Office of Defense is currently beginning to open doorways for him.

“Not many people get to have security clearances and get positions in the DOD at this age,” he explained. “I am eager to master new matters and what it signifies to be a govt staff. I am eternally grateful to absolutely everyone that enabled me to be in this position.”

Students fascinated in applying for the Good scholarship can contact the National Scholarship Business for assistance.