Justin Stahl, a 20-year-old sophomore studying
has become the first Johns
Hopkins University student to be awarded a highly
competitive SMART Scholarship through the
United States Department of Defense.
An integral part of the National Defense Education
Program, the Science, Mathematics and
Research for Transformation program supports the education
of America's future scientists and
engineers by offering scholarships to students who have
excelled in the fields of science, technology,
engineering and mathematics.
Justin Stahl, of Oceanside, N.Y., is one of about 200
undergraduates nationwide selected this
year for the scholarship, which will underwrite his tuition
for the next two years and provide him with
a generous stipend to cover his cost of living. The
scholarship will also guarantee employment for two
years post-graduation at the White Sands Missile Range,
hailed as the "birthplace of America's Missile
and Space Activity."
"I am incredibly honored to have been selected as a
SMART recipient and feel that I have much
to offer and contribute to the Department of Defense
enterprise," said Stahl, who spent his spring
semester as an Aitchison Public Service Fellow in
Government at SAIS. "I sought out this [Defense
Department] opportunity because it presents an incredible
way to harness my education such that I
may tackle a myriad of 21st-century concerns, one of which
is helping the modern soldier acquire novel
skills, multitask and improve overall combat performance
through an advanced understanding of the
limits of human cognition."
Following graduation in May 2011, Stahl will be
employed at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine
Command Analysis Center at the White Sands Missile Range,
located in New Mexico. His
responsibilities will include conducting, supervising,
reviewing and evaluating cognitive, neural and
behavioral research as well as using his cognitive science
background to assist in training soldiers in
areas such as the resolution of battle command issues and
testing future combat models.
Stahl says he is particularly excited because his
position will provide him with the opportunity
to apply cognitive research "to serve the public interest,"
a path he has already begun to follow.
During an internship last summer at Yale University's
Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, Stahl
studied the neuroscience of moral decision making, research
that was later published in Cornell
University's Ivy Journal of Ethics. In March, he was
invited to present a lecture at George
Washington University on the evolution, sociobiology and
neuroscience of morals. This semester, he
spent 20 hours a week at the Woodrow Wilson International
Center for Scholars: Project on Emerging
Nanotechnologies in Washington, D.C., where he researched
the "framing" process behind these
"Being a SMART Scholar at Johns Hopkins University is
really a dream come true," he said.
"After all, what could possibly be more exciting than
obtaining an education at one of the world's
leading research institutions and knowing that it will
eventually be applied to address America's most
critical security interests?"