Hamline News

Holten Awarded SMART Scholarship


Hunter Holten, a rising junior majoring in Computational Data Science, is the first Hamline University student to receive a Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) scholarship from the Department of Defense (DOD).

The prestigious scholarship provides students full tuition for the remainder of their undergraduate education, a year stipend, medical and book fee allowances, a 10-week paid summer internship and guaranteed employment at a Department of Defense facility.

The scholarship is a good fit for Holten, whose family has a history of military service.

“I come from a few generations of servicemen and women, but never felt joining the military was the right path for me,” said Holten. “This scholarship program afforded me the opportunity to do my part in a way that made sense.”

The application process began in August 2019 and Holten found out via email that he would receive the award in April 2020.

“After the shock faded, I was overjoyed and called my parents to give them the news,’ said Holten. “It was a great way to start a Monday!”

Holten has already begun the SMART program. He has met other students in his cohort and learned that he will be interning and working upon graduation at the Research and Analysis Center at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. He is not sure of his exact work duties but knows what the facility does.

“As a brief overview of their work: The Research and Analysis Center runs simulations, among other work, to develop better technologies for the future soldier,” said Holten. “In effect, their "clients" are soldiers in 2028 and beyond.”

Holten found the SMART opportunity on his own but recognizes that he needed help to apply to the program successfully.

“Between my professors who were kind enough to write letters of recommendation and my friends, I had an unbelievable support network,” said Holten.

One person, in particular, offered invaluable help to Holten.

“I wouldn't have had the success I did without Professor Colleen Bell,” he said. “Colleen was always available for academic and personal motivation, and I wouldn't be in this position without her support over these last two years.”

Written by staff