Electrical engineering student earns Department of Defense SMART Scholarship

A Florida State University graduate student at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering has been unstoppable these days. Jackie Jermyn’s research on mobile robot navigation has led the young scholar on a path that has earned her a prestigious SMART Scholarship from the Department of Defense (DoD), which will fully fund her doctoral studies for the next three years. 

The Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship-for-Service Program is an opportunity for students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines to receive a full scholarship and guaranteed civilian employment with the DoD upon degree completion. The scholarship is awarded to the brightest students in the nation for work in a leading DoD facility. 

Jackie Jermyn
Jacqueline Jermyn, doctoral candidate in electrical engineering and DoD SMART Scholarship recipient

Jermyn, a doctoral candidate in electrical engineering from Panama City, Florida, will receive full tuition and a stipend of $38,000 per year from the SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program. The sponsoring organization for the award is the Naval Surface Warfare Center-Panama City Division. 

Geoffrey Brooks, teaching professor at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, is an electrical engineering faculty member at FSU’s Panama City campus. He was Jermyn’s professor and adviser when she was in the master’s program.

“At the Panama City campus, we are very fortunate to have great students like Jackie and to be in such proximity to the world leaders in surf-zone defense,” Brooks said. “Her interests in mobile robotics will certainly serve the Navy very well in the future. I believe the Navy made a good choice in awarding her this opportunity.”

Jermyn’s personal experience with Navy projects has inspired her to become a researcher in mobile robot navigation. Her father is a mechanical engineer for the U.S. Navy and her mother is veteran who served as a bioenvironmental engineer for the U.S. Air Force. Jermyn is excited to follow in her parents’ footsteps.

“My parents and I are thrilled and humbled that I was awarded the SMART Scholarship,” Jermyn said. “This will help me continue to pursue my career with the Navy to support their mission.”

Jermyn is no stranger to receiving competitive scholarships for her work. She was selected as an Engineering Dean’s Fellow in Fall 2019 and believes it was instrumental in helping her get the SMART Scholarship.

“The fellowship award is a highly selective program because the dean and his committee have many hard-working students who are deserving of the award, “Jermyn said. “Since I had already passed a rigorous selection process, it made me more competitive for the SMART scholarship.”

As a researcher, Jermyn is working to develop path planning algorithms to determine the shortest path for a robot to travel to its destination. She will be presenting her findings at the Florida Conference on Recent Advances in Robotics at an online conference later in the spring. 

“My interest in robotics started with Rodney Roberts, my Ph.D. adviser at the college,” Jermyn said. “He showed me all the exciting applications for this emerging field and showed me how robots could perform certain tasks efficiently.”

Jermyn will be working with Roberts on applications of simultaneous localization and mapping techniques for the navigation of unmanned underwater vehicles to support activities at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Panama City.

“Jackie took several ITV classes from me, and I could see her potential as a researcher from the beginning,” Roberts said. “I have been with the College of Engineering for over 25 years now, and she is one of the very best students I have ever had.”

For more information about the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, visit eng.famu.fsu.edu.