Two Florida State University doctoral students have distinguished themselves with Department of Defense awards that will fund their studies in physical chemistry.
Jason Kuszynski and Catherine Fabiano, students in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, received their awards from the Department of Defense Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship Program. The awards provide full tuition for up to five years, plus a stipend, mentorship, summer internships and full-time employment with the Department of Defense after graduation.
“The awarding of the DoD SMART Fellowship to two of the department’s physical chemistry Ph.D. students working at the forefront of nanoscience is a testament to the quality of our students and the reputation of FSU Chemistry and Biochemistry,” said Geoffrey Strouse, the department’s chair. “As chair and the students’ Ph.D. mentor, I am privileged to work with such exceptionally bright and talented scholars.”
Kuszynski, a third-year doctoral student, earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Texas A&M University. His work on plasmonic nanomaterials focuses on the use of lasers and magnetism to control and investigate the unique light-based properties of those nanomaterials.
“Receiving this award means that my passion of spectroscopy and laser-driven research could be fully funded and supported by DoD,” Kuszynski said. “As I progress through my program, my research will be more tailored towards application driven development. By combining the skills I have learned in the fields of chemistry, physics, and engineering, I feel fully prepared to tackle the challenges that lie ahead.”
After graduation, Kuszynski will work at the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command Technical Center in Redstone Arsenal, Ala.
Fabiano, a first-year doctoral student, earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the University of Florida and focused on surrounding plasmonic semiconductors. She also works as a research assistant in condensed matter science at the FSU-headquartered National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.
“Becoming a DoD SMART scholar is much more than just an award for me, it is a symbol of respect, dedication, and acceptance of a greater responsibility to our country and its defense,” she said.
The Department of Defense boasts about 150,000 STEM employees.
Upon completion of her degree, Fabiano plans to transition into a full-time scientist role at the U.S. Army Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate in Adelphi, Md.
“Receiving this award means I will have the opportunity to collaborate and learn from some of the brightest minds in STEM, and this fellowship will allow me to focus on learning as much as I can throughout my graduate experiences at FSU and DoD,” Fabiano said.