CNM Student Wins Prestigious Department of Defense Scholarship

The scholarship will help Lloyd Waggoner get his bachelor’s at UNM and then guarantees him a DOD job after graduation
July 20, 2018

Lloyd Waggoner, 27, moves fast.

Just a couple years ago he was taking refresher math classes here at CNM. Now, he’s just a step away from his associate degree in Engineering, is working on a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of New Mexico, and was just awarded a prestigious Department of Defense scholarship. The scholarship pays all of his UNM tuition until he graduates, provides a large annual living stipend, gets him an internship at White Sands Missile Range next summer, and guarantees him a DOD job after graduation.

“When I looked at the scholarship initially, I thought, ‘what are the chances?’” Lloyd says. “But here I am.”

What he won is called the Science, Mathematics, And Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship, and it’s a national scholarship that draws applicants from all over the country. By offering the scholarship to college students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, the DOD hopes to increase the number of civilian scientists and engineers working at its laboratories.

Down at White Sands next summer, Lloyd will be working at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Analysis Center, which conducts research on potential military operations worldwide. He’s not exactly sure what he’ll be doing, but the work will likely have to do with electrical data analysis and he’ll need to rely heavily on the math and engineering skills he learned at CNM and UNM.

“To be honest, I’m really glad I started with some basic math at CNM because now I have the building blocks I need to answer the more complex questions I’ll face and I don’t have to constantly go back and try to refresh my memory,” Lloyd says.  

Lloyd says he’s also glad he started at CNM because he had smaller class sizes and super approachable instructors, and was able to skill up before he got into larger UNM classes and started applying for prestigious awards.

“Sitting in larger classes of 100 students, it can be hard to ask a question,” Lloyd says. “But since I had the training from CNM, I was able to follow along, and also had the confidence to get help when I needed it.”

For any students at CNM looking to move on like Lloyd has—whether that’s a move to a four-year school, or a job or scholarship application—he has some pretty simple advice.

“You just need to go for it,” he says. “I took a bunch of time off after high school, then had to climb my way up at CNM, but it all worked out.”