Maria Smiles of Manawa recently became the first-ever recipient of the $1,000 Wisconsin Surface Mount Technology (SMT) Association scholarship.
“It means a lot to receive this scholarship and I am really excited that I had the opportunity to apply,” said Smiles.
The scholarship was established to encourage and aid students in pursuing careers in fields that are in, or are related to, the electronics industry.
Smiles is a junior engineering physics major at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Twelve of the 16 applicants for the scholarship were UW-Platteville students.
Leah Rogers, Wisconsin SMTA vice president of membership, is personally familiar with the accomplishments of the UW-Platteville program.
“We reached out to UW-Platteville because of its strong engineering program as well as its Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (EMS) program,” said Rogers.
“This is a real testament to the connections we build with students and how they can continue and multiply over time,” said Tammy Salmon-Stephens, UW-Platteville EMS Student Success program director.
“I was really proud of UW-Platteville’s representation in the applicant pool,” said Salmon-Stephens. “We have very talented students who were extremely qualified for this scholarship.”
Applicants were asked to write an essay detailing why they should be considered for the scholarship. Smiles wrote about her participation in the Summer Medical and Research Training program at Baylor College of Medicine, which she considers her biggest accomplishment.
“It was a very eye opening experience that made me realize I want a future in research,” she said.
Smiles plans on attending graduate school to pursue a career in medical research focusing on prosthetics and orthopedics.