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Stokes Awarded DoD SMART Scholarship

photo of Michael StokesTimothy (Michael) Stokes, a doctoral student at the UT Space Institute, was awarded the Department of Defense Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship.

The award provides full tuition for up to five years, mentorship, a stipend, and full-time employment with the Department of Defense after graduation. The unique opportunity offers hands-on experience at one of over 200 innovative laboratories across the Army, Navy, Air Force, and larger Department of Defense.

“I am honored to receive the Department of Defense SMART scholarship,” said Stokes. “As a former member of the armed forces, it is an amazing opportunity to participate in research efforts that support our national defense.”

Stokes joined Associate Professor Ragini Acharya’s research group this spring and is pursuing a PhD in aerospace engineering with a focus on computational hypersonics. He holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Stokes is currently working full time as a mechanical engineer at the Department of Defense’s Naval Surface Warfare Center-Crane. Stokes will maintain his employment while working on his PhD and will return to the Center when he completes the program.

He is thankful for the support he has received throughout his educational journey.

“I am very grateful to my former advisors Dr. Mesbah Uddin, Dr. Jerry Dahlberg, and Dr. Tony Schmitz for their support and mentorship,” said Stokes. “I am also thankful to my current advisor, Dr. Ragini Acharya, for her guidance and agreeing to take me on as a PhD student.”

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.

For more information on the SMART program, please visit