Konan first MSU Texas student to receive SMART Scholarship

MSU Texas student receives DOD scholarship

Konan first MSU Texas student to receive SMART Scholarship

A senior computer science major is the first Midwestern State University student to receive a Department of Defense SMART scholarship. Loic Konan, a student from Ivory Coast, Africa, will receive full tuition for up to five years.

The SMART Scholarship (Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation) also provides students with summer internships, a stipend, and full-time employment with the Department of Defense after graduation.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be chosen to participate in advancing the nation’s cyber system,” Konan said.

Konan came to MSU Texas after a job at Howmet brought him to Wichita Falls. He also was an active member of the Marine Corps Reserve. After transferring from Vernon College, former computer science chair Ranette Halverson encouraged him to apply for the SMART Scholarship. He encouraged others to apply for the SMART Scholarship and other available scholarships. “These scholarships are out there. I wish more people would apply,” he said.

Konan’s focus is cybersecurity, but he also has a passion for cryptology and blockchain technology.

During a summer internship at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, Konan will work directly with an experienced mentor and gain valuable technical skills. He’ll earn his bachelor’s degree in May 2022 and is on track to finish his master’s in May 2023. After graduation, Konan and his wife Fatima, an MSU Texas graduate, will move to San Antonio for his job at Lackland.

About the SMART program

The SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program is a combined educational and workforce development opportunity for 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. It offers students hands-on experience at one of over 200 of the nation’s most innovative laboratories across the Army, Navy, Air Force, and throughout the larger Department of Defense network. For more information on the SMART program or to learn how to apply, visit the SMART Scholarship website for more information. The application is open annually from August through December.

The Department of Defense

The Department of Defense is the largest employer of scientists and engineers in the nation with nearly 300,000 STEM professionals. For over a decade, SMART has trained a highly-skilled STEM workforce that competes with the evolving trends of the industry to support the next generation of science and technology for our nation.