Abby Venable, a Masters with Thesis student in electrical and computer engineering, is the recipient of this year's Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Defense Education Program scholarship.

Venable studies in the Toor Lab at the Iowa Advanced Technology Laboratories at the University of Iowa.

The SMART Scholarship for Service Program was established by the Department of Defense (DoD) to support undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The program aims to increase the number of civilian scientists and engineers working at DoD laboratories.

The laboratory of Professor Fatima Toor, professor of electrical and computer engineering, works in the field of photonics at the interface of optical engineering, materials engineering, quantum physics, and electromagnetics. In particular, the lab engineers the properties of electrons, photons, spins, and phonons in micro- and nano-structured materials, such as semiconductors, metals, dielectrics, and polymers, to develop novel photonic devices and systems. The group uses computer-based analytical modeling for optimized design, chemical processing for micro/nanofabrication, and various optical, electrical, and thermal testing techniques for performance characterization. Target applications include photovoltaics, environmental sensors, and biomedical diagnostics as well as fundamental science discovery.