Mechanical engineering Ph.D. student earns prestigious DoD scholarship
Joshua A. Piehl, a mechanical engineering Ph.D. candidate at Wayne State University, received a Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) scholarship from the U.S. Department of Defense, providing him with significant support as he continues to research the chemistry of fuel combustion.
The SMART program endorses undergraduate and graduate students pursuing technical degrees in STEM disciplines and aims to increase the number of civilian scientists and engineers working at DoD laboratories. Among the benefits Piehl will receive are full tuition, health benefits, paid summer internships, an annual cash stipend and post-graduation career opportunities.
“This scholarship is a wonderful blessing. Graduate school is difficult enough without having to worry about finances,” said Piehl. “With this scholarship, I am able to focus on my studies and research to provide higher quality work.”
SMART scholarships are highly competitive. In 2017, the DoD distributed awards to only 14 percent of the reviewed applicants nationwide.
“Josh demonstrates a strong commitment to research and has superior intellectual ability to move the combustion field forward,” said Omid Samimi-Abianeh, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and Piehl’s faculty advisor.
Piehl’s dissertation objective is to identify and quantify the intermediate species formed during combustion. His research and industry experience includes a full-time position at Chrysler and internships at Detroit Diesel and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.
“Working with the Army has been an exciting and rewarding experience. It is wonderful to meet and work with other researchers who are passionate about keeping our nation safe,” said Piehl. “The projects are unique and state of the art, and will lead to innovations that benefit both the military and civilian sectors. It is a great experience to be able to give back to my country.”