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    Marcus Smith: A SMART Scholar’s Impact in STEM and Diversity Leadership

    Marcus Smith, Ph.D., SMART Deputy Program Manager and Phase 2 SMART Scholar

    Courtesy Photo | Recipient of the 2024 BEYA Stars and Stripes Federal Agency Leadership Award... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    SMART Scholarship Program

    Congratulations to SMART scholar Marcus Smith, Ph.D., and recipient of the 2024 Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) Stars and Stripes Federal Agency Leadership Award!

    The prestigious BEYA Stars and Stripes Award is a national honor recognizing his significant impact on STEM. The leadership award celebrates Marcus for enhancing the Air Force’s ability to carry out its mission, providing increased opportunities for career advancement for STEM professionals, and for effectively managing a diverse workforce. Over its 19-year legacy, BEYA has nominated distinguished United States civilian and military leaders for nationally acclaimed honors. Marcus joins the ranks of esteemed individuals who have significantly contributed to the United States’ defense and technological landscape.

    Marcus significantly impacted STEM initiatives related to national security through the Department of Defense SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program. Marcus’ SMART journey began as a retention scholar – meaning he was awarded a SMART scholarship while already working as a Department of Defense civilian professional. Through the scholarship, Marcus earned his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2019.

    During his doctoral pursuit, Marcus aligned his degree to his role as materials engineer at the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL). He authored multiple peer reviewed journal articles, which included serving as the lead author of “Coupled Whispering Gallery Mode Resonators via Template‐Assisted Assembly of Photoluminescent Microspheres.” This study, published in Advanced Functional Materials, introduces an innovative nanolithography technique to position fluorescent microspheres precisely, promising substantial advancements in light-emitting technologies such as high-resolution displays and sophisticated lasers and detectors, surpassing the capabilities of traditional methods.

    In addition to his technical accomplishments, Marcus has made significant contributions throughout the Air Force that will impact generations to come. He was instrumental in shaping the next Air and Space STEM strategy for the Air Force, thereby, positioning the department at the forefront of attracting and retaining diverse talent. Marcus has also held key positions at AFRL’s Aerospace Systems Directorate. As the first Chief Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEI&A) Officer, he developed and implemented the organization’s inaugural DEI&A action plan, fostering inclusivity within a team of over 11,000 members. His efforts have enhanced AFRL’s workplace culture and driven recruitment and development initiatives.

    Marcus’ tenure at the AFRL was also marked by serving on a team that pioneered a groundbreaking partnership with a consortium of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), leading to the establishment of, and the 15th University Affiliated Research Center created within the Department of Defense. This initiative bridged academic and military realms, fostering a diverse talent pipeline.

    Marcus’ SMART journey continues.

    Most recently, in November 2023, Marcus was promoted to his current role as SMART Deputy Program Manager, overseeing the very program that helped to advance his career as a Department of Defense civilian engineer.

    This past year has been filled with milestones for Marcus: serving in his current leadership role as SMART Deputy Program Manager and receiving the 2024 BEYA Stars and Stripes Federal Agency Leadership Award. This award, to be presented at the BEYA Technology Recognition Event on February 16th at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, MD, significantly highlights Marcus’ role as an inspirational figure in STEM during a crucial time of global demand for highly skilled and diverse STEM professionals.

    Marcus’ journey is more than a series of accomplishments; it's a call to action to help inspire future diverse STEM professionals and leaders who will drive innovation in a world increasingly dependent on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.



    Date Taken: 02.09.2024
    Date Posted: 02.09.2024 14:06
    Story ID: 463597
    Location: VIRGINIA, US

    Web Views: 267
    Downloads: 0