Michael Mercier | UAH
Jan Smith, founder and CEO of S³, has made a gift of $200,000 to The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) to establish the Janice Hays Smith Endowed Scholarship in Electrical Engineering. Smith has given an additional $10,000 to UAH, a part of The University of Alabama System, as well to fund a recipient in 2022 to enable the student to benefit from the scholarship immediately.
Each recipient will be known as the Janice Hays Smith Electrical Engineering Scholar.
“I’m so proud to be a part of this program and proud that UAH is a partner to our defense industry in Huntsville,” Smith says. “This scholarship is my second scholarship. The first was aimed more toward cybersecurity or software engineers.”
The new scholarship will be awarded to a full-time undergraduate student for their freshman, sophomore, junior or senior year, or to a full-time graduate student, pursuing a degree in electrical engineering. Scholarship recipients who are entering as freshmen must have a high school GPA of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and have achieved a minimum ACT score of 30.
“On behalf of the electrical and computer engineering department, and the College of Engineering at UAH, I am truly grateful for Ms. Jan Smith’s generosity,” says Dr. Shankar Mahalingam, Dean of Engineering. “Her personal accomplishments as CEO of S³ will help inspire our electrical engineering scholarship recipients to achieve their educational goals and establish a successful professional career that can have a major impact on our community. Ms. Smith is truly a visionary and a wonderful role model for our students.”
Scholarship recipients who have progressed beyond the freshman year must have maintained a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Preference will be given also to students who are members of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), students who are residents of the State of Alabama and students who demonstrate not only merit but financial need in order to be able to pursue a degree.
“This scholarship is very meaningful to SWE,” says SWE President, Cameron Gallups. “It is a testament to our community’s support of women in engineering. Scholarships help us as students focus on our studies, pursue career opportunities and engage in campus and community life.”
Smith is especially excited to make this connection, as the SWE has been championing women engineers for 70 years. “Any society that recognizes and supports women as part of science brings value in showing women that there are more of them than they think,” she notes.
The S³ CEO has already seen the difference her endowments have made toward impacting the lives and academic careers of UAH students.
“I have gotten to meet both of my first two scholarship recipients, the first for cybersecurity, and the next for the new electrical engineering endowment,” Smith says. “These scholarships have enabled both students to attend UAH, where otherwise they might not have been able to do so.”
“To be a recipient of this scholarship means so much to me,” says Jasmine Le, a recent computer science graduate who has benefitted from Smith’s gift. “The scholarship has helped me immensely during my academic journey and provided me the freedom to focus on my courses without financial burdens. Ms. Smith’s generosity enabled me to pursue internships, certifications and other opportunities alongside my degree. I am forever grateful for the impact it has made on my life. The award has allowed me to pursue my master’s degree in cybersecurity at UAH after recently graduating this past semester. I am thankful for the opportunity to continue my studies and hope to work in the cybersecurity field after graduation.”
Michael Mercier | UAH
Smith explains she chose electrical engineering as the focus for her newest gift for the most practical of reasons.
“My company is S³, and we are a defense contractor, sorely in need of electrical engineers, as is all of Huntsville,” she says. “So it’s not only for the recipient, it’s for the community. I am a member of the UAH Foundation board, so I have a vested interest in what we are doing. I view the scholarships as a matter of workforce investment that brings value to our city!”
The scholarship will automatically renew for up to five additional years or until all relevant courses of study, including graduate school, are completed, as long as the recipient maintains full-time enrollment; continues to make satisfactory progress toward a degree; and meets all other mandatory scholarship selection criteria.
Smith is an Alabama native and began her career as an associate software engineer in support of Boeing for NASA space missions. She founded S³ in 1991. The company operates in more than 25 states and provides professional services and solutions to the Department of Defense (Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines) and numerous commercial clients. These services include engineering, acquisition support, training, simulation, C4ISR, logistics and security assistance.