Junior Kayleigh Castonguay Receives SMART Scholarship from U.S. Department of Defense; Junior Kyle Ulversoy Named a Finalist


MACON – Mercer University junior Kayleigh Castonguay has been awarded a Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Additionally, fellow junior Kyle Ulversoy was a finalist for the scholarship.

“The SMART program is an exciting opportunity that seeks to place some of our best engineers into laboratories that support the Department of Defense,” said Dr. Wade Shaw, dean and Kaolin Professor of Engineering. “We are proud to celebrate this award with Kayleigh and with finalist Kyle. This award covers full costs for school plus a stipend and then offers a career as a research and development professional upon graduation. This is great news and affirms our confidence in our students, staff and faculty.”

Castonguay, a computer engineering major with a minor in technical communication, will serve as an intern and, later, a civilian employee at Robins Air Force Base working in life cycle management and system controls.

She will receive full tuition, room and board, an annual stipend and additional allowances while at Mercer for each year she commits to work for the DoD following graduation. She can also participate in summer internships at DoD laboratories.

“Honestly, when I was applying for this scholarship, it was a leap of faith for me. I wasn't expecting to receive it, or even be named a finalist,” said Castonguay. “I am so excited to receive this honor, which signifies that my hard work has paid off. I'd really like to thank Dr. Kevin Barnett, Dr. Andy Digh and Dr. Jennifer Goode for writing my recommendations and just being outstanding faculty.”

Castonguay, from Hiawassee, is participating in the School of Engineering's Master of Science in Engineering program and plans to graduate with both her bachelor's and master's degrees in 2018. She has developed a particular interest in embedded systems and has begun work with two fellow students on a senior design project to create an automated lawn-mowing robot.

Additionally, she is marketing director for QuadWorks, Mercer's student programming board, on which she has served for more than two years. She also is a peer tutor and lab assistant at the Academic Resource Center.

Ulversoy, a mechanical engineering major with a minor in mathematics, plans to graduate with his bachelor's degree in 2017 and continue to a graduate program in quantitative finance or business administration.

“This recognition is a real milestone for my student career. Being a finalist in the SMART Scholarship competition not only encourages me to apply for other programs, but it shows me that I am capable enough to apply for similarly competitive programs,” said Ulversoy. “I am very appreciative of the support I received from professors while applying for the scholarship. Without them, my application would not have been possible.”

Ulversoy, from Peachtree City, serves as a supplemental instructor for PRISM (Program in Integrated Science and Mathematics), a program in the College of Liberal Arts that integrates biology, psychology, mathematics and physics for students interested in science or pre-health tracks.

He also is treasurer of Tau Beta Pi – The Engineering Honor Society, a member of the Engineering Honors Program as well as Phi Eta Sigma and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies, an assistant athletic trainer and an active participant in intramurals.

The SMART Scholarship for Service Program provides an opportunity for students pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines to receive a full scholarship and be gainfully employed upon degree completion. For more information, visit smart.asee.org.

About the School of Engineering

Mercer University's School of Engineering, founded in 1985, offers innovative and academically challenging programs that provide students with a comprehensive education, featuring a solid foundation in mathematics and sciences, a core engineering curriculum, a range of courses in engineering specialties and a strong emphasis on communication technologies. The School is consistently ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top three master's-degree-level engineering schools in the Southeast. Known for its breadth of instruction in its undergraduate program and its five-year joint bachelor's and master's degree program, the School combines technical education with hands-on laboratory experience. Mercer engineers can look forward to joining fellow alumni in companies such as Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, Lockheed Martin, Georgia Power, Siemens and Gulfstream Aerospace.

Kyle is senior director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he serves as editor of the Mercerian alumni magazine and News@Mercer e-newsletters, and he coordinates hometown and university news releases.