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WVU Statler College Student Receives Prestigious SMART Scholarship

Graphic illustration of Hannah McFadden standing in front of shuttle with shirt that reads 'AEROSPACE' and text on right: "Smart Scholar Hannah McFadden"

Aerospace engineering student Hannah McFadden has been a fan of space most of her life. She's now the recipient of the prestigious Department of Defense SMART scholarship, which will support her academic and career journeys in the aerospace industry (Photo supplied). 

Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University proudly announces that Hannah McFadden, aerospace engineering undergraduate student from Leesburg, VA, has been awarded the SMART Scholarship.

Story by Mackenzie Randall, Social Media Manager
Photo supplied


This prestigious award is part of the Department of Defense's Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship-for-Service Program.

The SMART Scholarship provides students with tuition coverage for up to five years, mentorship, summer internship opportunities and guaranteed postgraduate employment with the Department of Defense. Upon completing her studies, McFadden will begin her full-time career at an agency within the Department of Defense in Virginia.

"It is an honor to be selected for this scholarship," said McFadden. "It means a lot to me because it's put me a huge step closer to my dream of working in spacecraft design and safety. I think it's a big honor too, because I'll also get to work to help protect the country using my skills and knowledge in aerospace engineering."

McFadden is entering her junior year at Statler College, with plans to pursue a master’s in aerospace engineering. She has excelled both academically and as member of WVU’s rocketry team, where she specializes in aerostructures. Reflecting on her journey, McFadden shared that her passion for aerospace engineering and space travel began in childhood. Her ultimate goal is to work in the field of astronautical engineering.

"I actually did a program a few years ago through a NASA initiative where I got to work as a safety advisor during a summer camp, and I learned a lot about what the field would entail, and I enjoyed it," she said.

McFadden was drawn to WVU for its aerospace program and the diverse student organizations, such as the rocketry team, which have provided her with hands-on experience. She credits her coursework, particularly in classes like material dynamics, for preparing her for her future role. "I was able to develop skills in SolidWorks and MATLAB. I'll get to apply those skills and learn more about them as I do this job," McFadden added.

"Hannah’s dedication and passion for aerospace engineering is truly exemplary," said Jason Gross, mechanical, materials and aerospace department chair. "She's consistently demonstrated her commitment to excellence, and we're proud to have her represent our college."

The Statler College continues to support and celebrate student success, showcasing the bright future of engineering leaders like Hannah McFadden.



Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit

For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, contact our Marketing and Communications office:

Phone: 304-293-4135