A photo of a man stadning in front of a fountain.
Chemical and life science engineering sophomore Sean Godward was recently awarded the Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) scholarship from the Department of Defense. (VCU College of Engineering)

VCU Engineering undergrad Sean Godward receives SMART scholarship from Defense Department

Chemical and life science engineering sophomore has recently participated in research on the essential drug albuterol.

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For Virginia Commonwealth University sophomore Sean Godward, the words of Nobel laureate scientist Marie Curie are inspirational: “One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.”

The message reminds Godward to remain humble in his success while addressing the challenges ahead. And as a recent recipient of a SMART scholarship – Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation – from the Defense Department, the chemical and life science engineering student in VCU’s College of Engineering looks forward to facing them. Scholars receive full tuition coverage, annual stipends, internships and guaranteed employment with the DOD after graduation.

Godward’s passion for engineering has been propelled by getting to work on complex and meaningful projects, with his interest lying in materials science manufacturing and development as well as research into renewable energy resources. Most recently, he performed research alongside chemical and life science engineering professor and associate chair James Ferri, Ph.D., to increase manufacturing efficiency and availability of the essential drug albuterol.

“In chemical engineering, we have the opportunity to make impacts directly on the consumer level in product research and development, and impacts on a much greater federal or corporate scale,” Godward said. “The idea of having a positive impact on both the nation and world as a whole seemed just too perfect to pass up.”

Godward is also a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, shaping his time at VCU with the opportunities and experience that membership provides. “Between the wealth of knowledge professors in the organization have to offer, the networking opportunities and social events, I could not recommend the AIChE VCU student organization enough,” he said.

With the SMART scholarship, after Godward completes his undergraduate degree, he will begin employment at the National Ground Intelligence Center in Charlottesville.

He offers special praise to assistant professor Leah Spangler, Ph.D., who broadened his perspective on the field, and Ferri, who welcomed him into his research lab. “These professors have greatly expanded my knowledge and understanding of what chemical engineering is and what it looks like in a lab setting,” Godward said.