Electrical engineering PhD student Kaitlyn Sitch.

PhD student Kaitlyn Sitch was awarded the Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship from the Department of Defense in April. The recognition came as a welcome surprise after Kaitlyn moved home with her family at the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I immediately was happy that I could share the news with my family in person, which is not something I would have been able to do if I had been at Temple," Kaitlyn said. "We all were able to celebrate together and was definitely a bright spot for us during an unprecedented and trying time."

The combined educational and workforce development SMART program funds scholars at more than 400 universities across the country, and will place Kaitlyn at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division for three years after completing her PhD, where she hopes to continue her research on islanded microgrids.

"An example of this situation would be if you are on an electrified ship, you would have to handle the pulsed load(s) and all of your electric needs without immediate access to the AC grid; however, that connection would be available when you are docked at shore," Kaitlyn said. "Therefore, the control scheme gets a bit more complicated and has more of an islanded microgrid approach rather than an always-available connection."

Kaitlyn added that there is room for growth beyond the program, including teaching, as well as expanding on electrified transportation and electrified ship research. But, like her research, she remains flexible.

"I do not like to map out everything completely since, as we saw from this year especially, things can go awry," she said.

To learn more, visit https://www.smartscholarship.org/smart.