Huntsville entrepreneur Jan Smith has presented $210,000 to the University of Alabama in Huntsville to establish the Janice Hays Smith Scholarship in Electrical Engineering.
Smith is founder and CEO of S³, a defense contractor providing engineering, acquisition support, training, simulation, logistics and security assistance to the Department of Defense and commercial clients.
“My company is S³, and we are a defense contractor, sorely in need of electrical engineers, as is all of Huntsville,” Smith said at a reception honoring her donation. “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!”
Dean of Engineering Shankar Mahalingam thanked Smith and noted, “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.”
Preference for the scholarships will go to a student who is a member of the campus chapter of the Society of Women Engineers.
Cameron Gallups, SWE president at UAH, said the scholarship is especially meaningful to that group. “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 praised SWE, saying it 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 says.