Combat veteran and University of North Texas student David Smith received the TDF Foundation Veterans Scholarship on April 25. Former Congressman Jack Fields, Congressman Michael Burgess, UNT President Neal Smatresk and UNT Vice President Elizabeth With attended the presentation of the award.
“I am excited to be able to talk to people so high up about issues I truly am concerned about,” Smith said.
As a biology and chemistry double major, Smith is conducting research about traumatic brain injury with electrophysiology. His research explores traumatic brain injuries on a cellular level and helps to quantitatively explore the effects of multiple brain traumas. This research has enabled him to earn several awards including the Scholar’s Day award and a grant from the Howard Hughes research institution.
This summer Smith will travel to Germany to give a speech about his research.
“Going to Germany this summer is expensive,” Smith said. “This award will help alleviate some of the financial burden associated with my study abroad trip.”
In addition to his research on veteran trauma, Smith has also created a veteran transition program for first-year veterans that will be implemented at UNT. The program aims to make the transition from military to college easier for veterans and keep them in school.
“Going from a very structured environment to college can be challenging,” Smith said. “Many veterans are overwhelmed and are at risk of dropping out.”
Smith plans to graduate in December 2014.
Above, scholarship recipient David Smith speaks with UNT President Neal Smatresk.