Two MAE students receive scholarship from the Department of Defense | Oklahoma State University


Thursday, April 28, 2022

Media Contact:
Kristi Wheeler | Manager, CEAT Marketing and Communications | 405-744-5831 |

Two Oklahoma State University Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) students
were awarded the 2022 Department of Defense’s (DoD) Science, Mathematics and Research
for Transformation (SMART) scholarships.

The DoD SMART scholarship for 2022 is a selective program that funds students tuition
and grants an annual stipend between $25,000-$38,000. Recipients also receive internships
and guaranteed employment with the DoD after graduation.

Zack Krawczyk graduated from OSU in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace
and mechanical engineering. He is also in the second semester of obtaining a master’s
degree in aerospace engineering. Being awarded the scholarship will allow him to continue
his education by obtaining a doctorate in aerospace engineering.

“This decision would not have been possible without the financial assistance offered
by this scholarship,” Krawczyk said.“This award will also facilitate the transition
into my professional career, as every summer I will gain invaluable internship experience
with the DoD.”

Krawcyzk’s interest in military technology developed at a young age and heavily influenced
the path he chose for his college career.

“Whenever the class went to the elementary school library, instead of reading novels
and tales of fiction, I would always check out books that had amazing pictures of
aircraft like the B-2 or the F-22,” Krawcyzk said. “This ultimately motivated me to
pursue a degree in aerospace engineering. Naturally, working with the DoD would allow
myself to relive the same passion and excitement that led me down this path.” 

Krawcyzk is thankful for the love and support he has received throughout his academic
journey from his parents Susan and John Krawczyk. He also appreciates Dr. James Manimala,
Dr. Kurt Rouser and Dr. Ryan Paul for helping him through the scholarship application

“Due to the efforts of professors like these at OSU, students gain the ability to
grow and achieve their goals and dreams,” Krawcyzk said. “Their work is what makes
OSU great.”

Nick Nowak is currently a Masters of Science student in the School of Mechanical and
Aerospace Engineering at OSU and he works as a graduate researcher in the Solid and
Structural Dynamics Lab advised by Dr. James Manimala.  He received his bachelor’s
degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, in

“I originally came to Oklahoma State in the summer of 2018 as a freshman undergraduate
with the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates,” Nowak
said. “I participated with Dr. Ranji Vaidyanathan’s research group with Lynsey Baxter
as a graduate mentor.  This was where my interest in continuing my studies at OSU
stemmed from.”

Nowak’s involvement with the DoD is generational. His dad and grandfather have both
been employed as civilians within the DoD through involvement with the Research, Development,
and Engineering Command (RDECOM) and their subordinate commands Communications-Electronics
Research, Development, and Engineering Command (CERCOM) and Army Research Lab (ARL).

“With such exposure to the DoD, I have always been interested in working with and
developing cutting edge technology to support the nation’s warfighters and to help
ensure their safe return home,” Nowak said. “I figure these young men and women are
willing to go out and fight and give everything they have to ensure our country is
safe and secure – it is only right that I help to work toward keeping them safe in
the field.”

Before receiving the SMART scholarship, Nowak was working as a graduate teaching assistant.
Now that he is fully funded for the duration of working toward his degree, he is able
to prioritize research activities. 

“I was worried that I may not be able to complete everything I need to in order to
complete my degree program in two years, but now I have more time to dedicate to my
work without having to worry about getting assignments graded or holding office hours,”
Nowak said.

Nowak is thankful for the support and encouragement of his family, especially his
parents Mary and Ed Nowak, throughout the application process and throughout his academic
career.  He also wants to extend a special thank you to Drs. Ranji Vaidyanathan, Philip
LaPorta, and Ed Panuska for their contributions to his application.

Head of MAE, Dr. Harimkar, is proud of both students for their accomplishment and
for being a good representation of the opportunity provided through MAE.

“I’m very proud of Nick and Zack for being selected for the highly competitive DoD
SMART Scholarships,” Harimkar said. “This scholarship program will support their graduate
studies, internships, and careers in STEM disciplines. Their selection also represents
the reputation of our programs in educating and developing talent in the areas critical
to DoD.”