Meet Our Awardees

SMART Scholar & Mentor of the Year

Stars Illustration

This award recognizes SMART scholar and mentor pairs who demonstrate exemplary achievements during the pursuit of their SMART-sponsored degree (Phase 1), during their DoD employment commitment (Phase 2), or as a seasoned DoD science and technology professional post-service commitment (Phase 3).

AEF Award Icon (sml)Albert Einstein Fellowship pThe Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship (AEF) Program provides a unique opportunity for accomplished K-12 educators in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to serve in the national education arena.
DoD SMART SEED Grant Icon (sml)DoD SMART SEED Grant pThe SEED program competitively awards research grants up to $100K per year for up to a maximum of three years to help support promising SMART scholars establish a foundational research / engineering effort in their area of expertise as they transition from the pursuit of their Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) to an active Department of Defense (DoD) professional.
DoDDoD STEM Ambassador pThe DoD STEM Ambassador Program recognizes outstanding educators and promotes STEM learning across the nation.
SMART Scholar & Mentor of the Year Icon (sml)SMART Scholar & Mentor of the Year pThis award recognizes SMART scholar and mentor pairs who demonstrate exemplary achievements during the pursuit of their SMART-sponsored degree.
STEM Advocate of the Quarter Icon (sml)STEM Advocate of the Quarter pThis award recognizes outstanding STEM education and outreach efforts that help to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders while furthering the mission of the Department of Defense.

AWARD TYPE

Albert Einstein Fellowship

DoD STEM Ambassador

SMART Scholar & Mentor of the Year

STEM Advocate of the Quarter

Benjamin Harvey, Ph.D.
SMART SMY Icon (sml)Benjamin Harvey, Ph.D,

2022: Phase 3 SMART Mentor

From Independence to Innovation, Department of Defense’s SMART Scholar Leads Groundbreaking Mass Spectrometry Research.

Watch the Scholars and Mentors of the Year Award Ceremony to learn more about Patrick and Benjamin’s research and work.

The Department of Defense (DoD) Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship-for-Service Program scholar Patrick Fedick, Ph.D., and his mentor, Benjamin Harvey, Ph.D., are making significant contributions to the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD), ultimately supporting the warfighter’s mission to protect national security. The mentee/mentor pair is leading new research and innovations while inspiring the next generation of scientists, influencing the Department for years to come. For their collaborative efforts, Fedick and Harvey were recently awarded the  2022 Scholars and Mentors of the Year Award as a SMART scholar with a doctoral degree currently in the post-service commitment.

Fedick is currently fulfilling his SMART scholarship post-service commitment as a seasoned DoD science and technology professional at NAWCWD.  For Fedick, Harvey has served as a mentor leading by example as a role model to a young researcher starting an independent career. Fedick often jokes, “I want to be like Ben when I grow up”. Harvey, a senior scientist, a NAWCWD research fellow, and a member of the National Academy of Inventors, inspires Fedick in his own research career and becoming a mentor himself.

The pair have established a renowned collaborative relationship through this mentorship. Harvey, who maintains an incredible 83 peer-reviewed papers and astonishing 81 patents, has mentored Fedick through process of how to publish and patent results as a starting scientist. Harvey has also guided Fedick through the grant writing process to obtain funding opportunities and establishing independent research as a post-doctoral scholar. Even though mass spectrometry is not Harvey’s area of expertise, together, they have written several grant proposals and two manuscripts.

Driven by innovation, Fedick established a world-class mass spectrometry laboratory at NAWCWD’s Chemistry Division, leading groundbreaking ambient ionization mass spectrometry research for the United States in under four years. In addition to supporting his laboratory, Fedick collaborates with other DoD laboratories and centers, as well as academia, such as Purdue University and Illinois State University.

Fedick’s research focuses on ambient ionization mass spectrometry to aid in environmental issues and threat detection. His work is currently pending a patent for a 3-D printed cone spray ionization (3D-PCSI) ion source. Additionally, Fedick has two other invention disclosures that are pending patent applications for his reproducible automatic sampling device and coupling 3D-PCSI to additional instrumental technology for field testing. The sensors developed have been adapted for field testing of explosives, chemical warfare agents, drugs and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Fedick is also looking to improve the DoD’s speed and efficiency when developing new energetic materials. To do this, he uses novel mass spectrometry techniques to synthesis energetic compounds through high-throughput reaction screening.

To date, Fedick has received nearly $6 million in independent funding from the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the Navy’s Environmental Sustainability Development to Integration (NESDI) to establish his independent research. Fedick’s research efforts have resulted in 33 manuscripts, five invention disclosures, one submitted patent, two patent applications, and 53 presentations to national and international audiences.  Fedick’s most recent publications are in Reaction Chemistry & Engineering, International Journal of Mass Spectrometry, and Chemosphere.

Having been vital to his own academic to career journey, Fedick takes an active role mentoring future scientists. Fedick has grown his research group welcoming a handful of researchers, including two post-secondary students through the Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program (NREIP) – a summer opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to participate in research under the guidance of a research mentor at a participating Navy laboratory. Additionally, his mentee, Hilary Brown, Ph.D., won the Post-Doctoral Career Development Award from the American Society of Mass Spectrometry while working in Fedick’s laboratory. Fedick also serves on the executive committee for the local Mojave Desert chapter of the American Chemical Society and on its Younger Chemist Committee where he leads a symposium for undergraduate and graduate students on how to obtain a government position.

Taking a full turn, Fedick also volunteers as a reviewer of SMART program applications and SMART Phase 2 Research Grant proposal review committee. Together, Fedick and Harvey exemplify the vision of the SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program – to create a highly skilled STEM workforce that competes with dynamic trends in technology to aid the warfighter.

Annually, SMART recognizes scholar and mentor pairs who embody the SMART vision of creating a highly skilled DoD workforce that competes with the dynamic trends in technology and innovation to protect national security. These awards recognize outstanding scholar achievements as well as the valuable guidance provided by their mentor at a SMART sponsoring facility.

SMART SMY Award Icon (sml)SMART Mentor of the Year
2022: Phase 3 Winner

Patrick Fedick, Ph.D.
SMART SMY Icon (sml)Patrick Fedick, Ph.D,

2022: Phase 3 SMART Scholar

From Independence to Innovation, Department of Defense’s SMART Scholar Leads Groundbreaking Mass Spectrometry Research.

Watch the Scholars and Mentors of the Year Award Ceremony to learn more about Patrick and Benjamin’s research and work.

The Department of Defense (DoD) Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship-for-Service Program scholar Patrick Fedick, Ph.D., and his mentor, Benjamin Harvey, Ph.D., are making significant contributions to the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD), ultimately supporting the warfighter’s mission to protect national security. The mentee/mentor pair is leading new research and innovations while inspiring the next generation of scientists, influencing the Department for years to come. For their collaborative efforts, Fedick and Harvey were recently awarded the  2022 Scholars and Mentors of the Year Award as a SMART scholar with a doctoral degree currently in the post-service commitment.

Fedick is currently fulfilling his SMART scholarship post-service commitment as a seasoned DoD science and technology professional at NAWCWD.  For Fedick, Harvey has served as a mentor leading by example as a role model to a young researcher starting an independent career. Fedick often jokes, “I want to be like Ben when I grow up”. Harvey, a senior scientist, a NAWCWD research fellow, and a member of the National Academy of Inventors, inspires Fedick in his own research career and becoming a mentor himself.

The pair have established a renowned collaborative relationship through this mentorship. Harvey, who maintains an incredible 83 peer-reviewed papers and astonishing 81 patents, has mentored Fedick through process of how to publish and patent results as a starting scientist. Harvey has also guided Fedick through the grant writing process to obtain funding opportunities and establishing independent research as a post-doctoral scholar. Even though mass spectrometry is not Harvey’s area of expertise, together, they have written several grant proposals and two manuscripts.

Driven by innovation, Fedick established a world-class mass spectrometry laboratory at NAWCWD’s Chemistry Division, leading groundbreaking ambient ionization mass spectrometry research for the United States in under four years. In addition to supporting his laboratory, Fedick collaborates with other DoD laboratories and centers, as well as academia, such as Purdue University and Illinois State University.

Fedick’s research focuses on ambient ionization mass spectrometry to aid in environmental issues and threat detection. His work is currently pending a patent for a 3-D printed cone spray ionization (3D-PCSI) ion source. Additionally, Fedick has two other invention disclosures that are pending patent applications for his reproducible automatic sampling device and coupling 3D-PCSI to additional instrumental technology for field testing. The sensors developed have been adapted for field testing of explosives, chemical warfare agents, drugs and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Fedick is also looking to improve the DoD’s speed and efficiency when developing new energetic materials. To do this, he uses novel mass spectrometry techniques to synthesis energetic compounds through high-throughput reaction screening.

To date, Fedick has received nearly $6 million in independent funding from the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the Navy’s Environmental Sustainability Development to Integration (NESDI) to establish his independent research. Fedick’s research efforts have resulted in 33 manuscripts, five invention disclosures, one submitted patent, two patent applications, and 53 presentations to national and international audiences.  Fedick’s most recent publications are in Reaction Chemistry & Engineering, International Journal of Mass Spectrometry, and Chemosphere.

Having been vital to his own academic to career journey, Fedick takes an active role mentoring future scientists. Fedick has grown his research group welcoming a handful of researchers, including two post-secondary students through the Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program (NREIP) – a summer opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to participate in research under the guidance of a research mentor at a participating Navy laboratory. Additionally, his mentee, Hilary Brown, Ph.D., won the Post-Doctoral Career Development Award from the American Society of Mass Spectrometry while working in Fedick’s laboratory. Fedick also serves on the executive committee for the local Mojave Desert chapter of the American Chemical Society and on its Younger Chemist Committee where he leads a symposium for undergraduate and graduate students on how to obtain a government position.

Taking a full turn, Fedick also volunteers as a reviewer of SMART program applications and SMART Phase 2 Research Grant proposal review committee. Together, Fedick and Harvey exemplify the vision of the SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program – to create a highly skilled STEM workforce that competes with dynamic trends in technology to aid the warfighter.

Annually, SMART recognizes scholar and mentor pairs who embody the SMART vision of creating a highly skilled DoD workforce that competes with the dynamic trends in technology and innovation to protect national security. These awards recognize outstanding scholar achievements as well as the valuable guidance provided by their mentor at a SMART sponsoring facility.

SMART SMY Award Icon (sml)SMART Scholar  Year
2022: Phase 3 Winner

Dr. Richard C. Ordoñez
SMART SMY Icon (sml)Dr. Richard C. Ordoñez

2021: Phase 1 SMART Mentor
Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific

Dr. Richard C. Ordoñez was born in Plattsburgh, NY, USA, in 1986. He received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering and the Ph.D. degree in electro physics from the University of University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI, USA, in 2009 and 2016, respectively. His dissertation proved the functionality of graphene flexible devices fabricated with novel materials such as liquid metal and honey. He joined the Advanced Development and Experimentation Branch at the Naval Information Warfare Center, Pearl City, HI, USA, in 2016, where he currently serves as a Scientist/Electronics Engineer. His research interests include nanoparticles, two-dimensional based electronic devices, photonics, adaptive optics, flexible electronics, unmanned systems, and space technologies. Dr. Ordonez was the recipient of the Department of Navy Pathways Internship and Achievement Reward for the College Scientists Foundation Award in 2014. He was inducted as the Youngest Distinguished Member of the National Academy of Inventors, Hawaii Chapter, in 2015. He received the Federal Laboratory Consortium Far West Regional Award in Outstanding Technology Development for graphene-based technologies using liquidmetal electrodes, in 2016. He received the Department of Navy’s Top Emergent Investigator Award at the Pentagon, in 2017. He currently has 12 publications and holds five issued patents.

SMART SMY Award Icon (sml)SMART Mentor of the Year
2021: Phase 1 Winner

Khaldoon M. Ishmael
SMART SMY Icon (sml)Khaldoon M. Ishmael

2021: Phase 1 SMART Scholar
Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific

Khaldoon M. Ishmael (U.S. Army Veteran, Student Member, IEEE) received ASNS degree in engineering from Leeward community college, Pearl City, Hawai’i, USA, in 2015, B.Sc. and M.Sc. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Hawai’i, Honolulu, Hawai’i, USA, in 2017 and 2018, respectively. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering with the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Honolulu, Hawai’i, USA, focusing on biomedical applications, including R.F./Microwave technologies. His research interests include non-invasive physiological sensors, radar systems, antenna array signal processing, adaptive filter technique, and separation method. In summer 2015 and summer 2016 received DOD Pathways Internship Program. In the summer of 2017 and summer of 2018 received, Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program, he worked as Engineering Research Intern with Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific (NIWC PAC), Pearl City, Hawai’i, USA, where his research focused on wafer-scale integration technologies for wireless and optical communications. In 2019, Mr. Ishmael received a 3-year DOD SMART scholarship. He was a recipient of the 2021 Frederick M. Kresser Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Award in Engineering, the University of Hawai’i at Manoa Department of Electrical Engineering.

SMART SMY Award Icon (sml)SMART Scholar of the Year
2021: Phase 1 Winner

Dr. Tyler Helble
SMART SMY Icon (sml)Dr. Tyler Helble

2021: Phase 1 SMART Mentor
Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific

Dr. Tyler Helble specializes in oceanographic applied research and engineering. Since 2004, he has served as Research Oceanographer at NIWC Pacific and has been an oceanographer for the WARP lab since 2007. Dr. Helble’s background in engineering has transitioned into several key areas, including autonomous vehicles, ocean acoustics, real-time systems, and marine mammal detection, localization, tracking, classification, and density estimation. His work on the Generalized Power Law technology to detect transient whale signals has resulted in both key publications and a demonstrable software that is currently being used throughout the marine mammal community. He is recognized by several professional achievements including the U.S. Navy SMART scholarship and the NIWC Pacific in-house research program scholarship. Tyler currently holds a position on four international steering committees, including the marine mammal DCLDE metrics/standards committee, NOAA Data archiving committee, marine mammal context classification committee, and soundscape metrics committee to support marine protected area management. Tyler has presented as a Navy subject matter expert at over 10 scientific international conferences and has coauthored over 18 peer-reviewed scientific publications.

SMART SMY Award Icon (sml)SMART Mentor of the Year
2021: Phase 2 Winner

Dr. Regina Guazzo
SMART SMY Icon (sml)Dr. Regina Guazzo

2021: Phase 1 SMART Scholar
Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific

Dr. Regina Guazzo studies the behavior of marine mammals using passive acoustic monitoring for the Whale Acoustics Reconnaissance Project (WARP) at the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific (NIWC Pacific) in San Diego, California. She earned her PhD in Oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography under the supervision of Dr. John Hildebrand (2018) and her B.S. in Marine Science from Rutgers University (2013). Her PhD dissertation focused on the swimming and acoustic behavior of migrating eastern North Pacific gray whales along the California coast and was funded in part by the Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship-for-Service sponsored by the Department of Defense (2015-2018). She currently researches the behavior of baleen whales, including minke, humpback, and fin whales, around the Navy range off Kauai, Hawaii and in the North Atlantic and has authored or coauthored 9 peer-reviewed scientific publications. Regina especially enjoys communicating science to others and encouraging girls to pursue interests in STEM. She is passionate about making STEM fields more equitable, diverse, and inclusive to ensure that everyone is welcomed to help solve our world’s most pressing problems.

SMART SMY Award Icon (sml)SMART Scholar of the Year
2021: Phase 2 Winner

Dr. Linda Mullen
SMART SMY Icon (sml)Dr. Linda Mullen

2021: Phase 1 SMART Mentor
Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division

Dr. Linda J. Mullen is a Senior Scientific Technical Manager (SSTM) in the Advanced Technology Development Department at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Maryland. Her team’s research focuses on the application of radar technology to optical modulation and detection in underwater laser-radar system design. The current emphasis is on improving optical detection and identification of underwater objects in turbid, murky water. Dr. Mullen has published over 40 papers in technical journals and conference publications, and she holds eight patents for her work in modulated laser system development. Dr. Mullen is a Senior Member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Optical Society of America (OSA), and is a NAVAIR Fellow.

SMART SMY Award Icon (sml)SMART Mentorr of the Year
2021: Phase 3 Winner

Dr. David Illig
SMART SMY Icon (sml)Dr. David Illig

2021: Phase 3 SMART Scholar
Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division

Dr. David W. Illig is an electronics engineer in the Advanced Technology Development Department at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Maryland. His research focuses on the use of machine learning, signal processing, and image processing techniques to enhance performance of optical sensors operating in various underwater and airborne applications. Dr. Illig’s doctoral research was supported by a Department of Defense SMART Scholarship and he has published 30 papers in technical journals and conference publications. Dr. Illig is also a member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Optical Society of America (OSA), and the Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE).

SMART SMY Award Icon (sml)SMART Scholar of the Year
2021: Phase 3 Winner

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