Mizzou Honors Student receives Department of Defense SMART scholarship

University of Missouri sophomore Graham Bond, a mechanical engineering major from Jefferson City, Missouri, was recently awarded the Department of Defense (DoD) funded Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) scholarship. The scholarship will provide full tuition for his junior and senior years in addition to a $25,000 stipend per year and guaranteed employment with the DoD after graduation.   

Bond will work with the US Army Corp of Engineers in Omaha, Nebraska after finishing his degree at Mizzou. Once there, he will work in the fluid systems division and gain valuable exposure to a wide range of topics within mechanical engineering. Topics such as thermodynamics and fluid mechanics have always interested Bond.

“I found that thermal fluids, thermodynamics, and fluid mechanics are pretty interesting topics for me,” said Bond. “I’ll be able to apply that knowledge in the real world with stuff like aircraft fueling and a whole lot of other classified stuff that I don’t even know about yet.”

While Bond figures out his career options, the SMART program will allow him to keep some stability as he explores his interests. The program also gives Bond valuable on-the-job experience, through summer internships and a guaranteed two years of employment after graduation. After spending two years with the DoD, Bond plans to pursue a master’s degree.

“I think that having two years of industry knowledge and applications in the real world before getting a graduate degree would be really helpful,” said Bond. “But if I wanted to move to the private sector later, I would have tons of experience that I wouldn’t be able to get in any other way.”

Summer internships and two years at the DoD will undoubtedly set Bond up for future success. He hasn’t been slacking off during the school year, however, and instead has been a participant in research at the university since his first day on campus. In the beginning, Bond worked as an assistant to graduate students, but today he works independently on his own projects.

Bond works in Dr. Jain Lin’s advanced manufacturing lab on 4D printing, which according to Bond, is “a 3D printed object that is no longer static, so it can change over time based on outside stimulus.” The end goal of Bond’s research is to apply those 4D printed materials in biomedical implants.

“If you can imagine deforming an object to make it smaller, it makes it easier to implant,” said Bond. “Then once it gets to body temperature, it reverts to the original structure you wanted. Thus, it reduces how [intrusive] an operation is.”

In between his engineering studies and research, Bond also makes time for pursing a minor in music. Mizzou’s music program was actually a big reason he enrolled in the university, as the program allows you to take lessons with their top faculty even if you’re only pursuing a minor.

“It gives me a way to de-stress. It gives me another thing to do. It’s a lot of fun and I think that it really helps the brain,” said Bond. “I had a solo piano recital not that long ago… that was definitely a highlight.”

There are a lot of bright and talented students at Mizzou, but where Graham Bond has stood out has been his ability to harness everything the university has to offer, and set himself up for a lot of future success.