Mechanical Engineering graduate students Frank Tricouros and David Yudin were awarded the Department of Defense Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship.

This award provides students with full tuition for up to five years, along with mentorship, summer internships, a stipend and full-time employment with the Department of Defense after graduation. This unique opportunity offers students hands-on experience at one of over 100 innovative laboratories across the Army, Navy, Air Force and larger Department of Defense.

Frank Tricouros graduated from Hofstra University with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. under the supervision of assistant professor Tyler Van Buren and is researching vortex dynamics in wall-bounded flows. During the summer of 2024 and also after completing his Ph.D., Tricouros will work at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division in Bethesda, Maryland.

David Yudin earned a bachelor of mechanical engineering from UD in 2020. He is also pursuing a Ph.D. under Van Buren’s supervision. He is studying actively flexible bioinspired propulsors in Van Buren’s labs and will be working at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division during the summer of 2024 and after completing his Ph.D.

“I am delighted that both Frank and David simultaneously won the SMART scholarship as fellow students in Dr. Van Buren’s lab,” said Ajay Prasad, Engineering Alumni Distinguished Professor and Department Chair of Mechanical Engineering. “Both of them began their graduate studies together, and are now receiving excellent training under Dr. Van Buren’s mentorship. I am excited to see them applying fundamental fluid dynamics to solve problems relevant to our nation’s defense mission.”

“Frank and Dave have been working tirelessly on their projects and I am so happy and proud to see them recognized for their work,” added Van Buren. “I can’t wait to watch their continued growth and future success!”

About the scholarship

The Department of Defense is committed to developing the Nation’s STEM talent and is the largest employer of federal scientists and engineers with nearly 150,000 civilian STEM employees working across the Department. DoD STEM activities support this mission by providing authentic learning experiences through a variety of education and outreach initiatives, such as the SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program, which has trained a highly skilled STEM workforce that competes with the evolving trends of industry to support the next generation of science and technology for our nation.

For more information on the SMART Program, please visit


FeaturedTwo mechanical engineering graduate students receive DOD SMART Scholarship