ECU doctoral student awarded national scholarship

Jessica Ford

An East Carolina University doctoral student received the 2012 Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship given by the National Defense Education Program and the American Society for Engineering Education.

Jessica Ford, a native of Goldsboro, is a fourth year student in ECU’s clinical health psychology program, working with ECU cardiac psychology professor Dr. Sam Sears. She expects to complete her degree in May 2014.

The award includes payment of full tuition and fees, an annual $1,200 health insurance allowance, a $1,000 yearly book stipend, summer internships and a post-graduation career service opportunity.

Sears said the ECU psychology faculty consider Ford a “great representative of East Carolina University’s commitment to produce future health researchers ready to address the tough research questions related to total health outcomes for North Carolina and this country.”

“Jessica has consistently demonstrated a commitment to a scientist practitioner approach to her work in health psychology, where her training in research and her clinical care mutually enhance one another,” he said.

When she completes her degree at ECU, Ford said she would like to work in mental and behavioral health interventions for active duty military and veterans. She plans to complete post-doctoral work at the U.S. Army Public Health Command in Aberdeen, Md.

“This fellowship will jumpstart my career and give me valuable work experience performing health intervention research for the army,” Ford said. “So I am ecstatic and also incredibly honored to receive this award.”

The SMART program offers scholarships to undergraduate, masters and doctoral-level students who have demonstrated ability and aptitude for excelling in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The program is highly competitive, with only 15 percent of applicants receiving awards.

Ford received her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and sociology from Mount Olive College and her Master’s degree in clinical psychology from East Carolina University.