W&J senior Preston Evans smiles at the camera.

Getting SMARTer: CIS student lands Department of Defense scholarship

Created: May 11, 2022  |  Last Updated: June 9, 2022  |  Category:   |  Tagged: , , , , , , ,

WASHINGTON, PA (May 11, 2022)—W&J senior Preston Evans is SMART. At least according to the United States Department of Defense (DoD).

A computing and information studies (CIS) major beginning a master’s program in information security policy and management at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College in the fall, Evans recently received the Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship from the DoD—a prestigious award that fully funds his graduate studies, and provides him with an internship, mentorship, and full-time employment at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Philadelphia, Pa. after he graduates with his master’s.

Evans said the College, and his professors in the CIS department, are responsible for his success.

“I am honored to be awarded this scholarship,” the PAL tutor and residential assistant said, “and W&J definitely prepared me for the opportunity.”

Professors in the CIS department encouraged Evans to apply for an internship at Heinz College last summer (which he received), recommended that he apply for the SMART scholarship, and paired him with a CIS alumni mentor who also attended Heinz College. But Evans said their support went deeper than that.

“All the professors within the department have always been available to help me whenever I would need assistance,” he said, “and their courses provided me with the necessary skills and experiences to succeed.”

One professor proved particularly influential.

“Ever since I joined the CIS department, Dr. [Amanda] Holland-Minkley has been someone that I could go to for anything,” Evans said. “For every scholarship, every graduate school application, or even times when I just felt like I was struggling, she was there to help me. I say wholeheartedly that I believe that I would not be where I am today without the help of Dr. Holland-Minkley.”

Holland-Minkley, however, said Evans is responsible for his own success.

“Preston didn’t start at W&J knowing he wanted to go into information security, or even that he wanted to do CIS,” she said. “He started as a physics major, and was doing fine in those courses, but discovered CIS and made the shift. He’s a great example of how you can change your direction after your freshman year and not only finish on time, but really excel.”

About the SMART Program

The SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program is a combined educational and workforce development opportunity which allows bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. students to gain technical skills in critical STEM fields, and support the national security mission of the Department of Defense.

For more information on the SMART Program or to learn how students can apply, please visit www.smartscholarship.org. The application is open annually from August through December.

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, proudly located in Washington, Pa., is a historic liberal arts college founded in 1781 that values ethical leadership, professional readiness, and inclusive communities. Our highly customized and intellectually engaging student experience develops professionals of uncommon integrity to lead in an ever-changing world. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu or call 888-W-AND-J.