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SMART Scholarship Students Visit NAVFAC Southeast

28 May 2024

From Jeffrey Hamlin

Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Southeast proudly welcomed four exceptional students, May 22, from the Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship-for-Service Program.

Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Southeast proudly welcomed four exceptional students, May 22, from the Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship-for-Service Program.

This event marks the command’s inaugural year in the SMART program, poised to infuse much-needed talent into the workforce.

"We are thrilled that you've decided to participate in the SMART scholarship program and express interest in joining NAVFAC Southeast," stated Capt. Miguel Dieguez, Commanding Officer of NAVFAC Southeast, welcoming the students. "Your fresh perspectives and advanced knowledge are invaluable assets as we continuously strive to provide crucial infrastructure support for national defense."

The SMART program provides scholarships for students pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees at the undergraduate, master's, and doctoral levels, covering full tuition, offering annual stipends, internships, and ensuring employment with the Department of Defense (DoD) upon graduation.

The students – Matthew Hadad, Jordyn Sitson, Carter Gonzalez, and Harrison Green – are currently pursuing degrees in Electrical Engineering, Information Technology, and Environmental Sciences. Their areas of study align closely with NAVFAC Southeast’s mission to provide efficient and sustainable engineering solutions for the Navy and Marine Corps.

During their two-day visit to NAVFAC Southeast, the four students had a unique opportunity to engage with senior engineers, project managers, and other key command personnel. They explored diverse facilities and observed ongoing projects, with a special emphasis on touring the Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville flight line, which featured the U.S. Navy’s premier maritime patrol aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, and witnessing renovations at the Aviation Survival Training Center.

Hadad, a student at University of Central Florida, expressed his enthusiasm for the visit: "Exploring NAVFAC Southeast was truly enriching for me. Every moment was enjoyable and educational. Touring the airfield stood out, and engaging with the command’s electrical engineering team proved highly valuable."

The visit included detailed briefings on NAVFAC Southeast’s projects in environmental restoration, cybersecurity, and infrastructure modernization. The students also had the chance to shadow professionals working in their fields of interest, gaining practical insights and mentorship.

Monica Soriano-Mitchell, SMART Navy Component Liaison, highlighted the significance of these interactions: "Visits like these bridge the gap between academic learning and practical application. Our scholars gain hands-on experience that is crucial for their development as future leaders in STEM fields."

The command remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting educational initiatives and nurturing the next generation of engineers and scientists. Through partnerships with programs like SMART, NAVFAC Southeast ensures it stays at the forefront of innovation, prepared to meet the evolving needs of the DoD.

Hadad takes pride in his decision to join the SMART program, stating, "I wholeheartedly recommend the SMART program to all students for its outstanding benefits, including tuition coverage, internships, and eventual employment opportunities post-graduation."

For general SMART inquiries, individuals can reach out to For information on applying, SMART’s Sponsoring Facilities, award details, and more, visit the SMART program's public website at

NAVFAC Southeast is responsible for planning, designing, constructing, and maintaining sustainable facilities and delivering environmental, utilities, and other engineering services to support the Navy and Marine Corps in the Southeastern United States and the Caribbean.

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