Published on October 6, 2022 by Diamond Nunnally  
(Courtesy: Bailey Holland)
(Courtesy: Bailey Holland)

Samford University Senior Bailey Holland isn’t just smart; she’s SMART. 

Holland, a computer science major, was awarded the Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). She is the first Samford student in the history of the SMART program to receive this prestigious award.  

"I was honestly amazed that I got the scholarship because it is very competitive and has an 18% acceptance rate,” said Senior Bailey Holland. “I was honored and happy because it showed that my hard work at Samford has paid off.”  

"We are thrilled Bailey has received this prestigious honor,” said Department of Math and Computer Science chair Chad Awtrey. “We know that she will continue to make us proud as she serves our nation at the U.S. Department of Defense."  

The SMART scholarship is awarded to students pursuing degrees in one of the 21 STEM disciplines. Not only will Holland's tuition be covered, but she is guaranteed a job with the DOD after graduation.  

"This scholarship will help me further my love and learning of Computer Science by allowing me to work in the software engineering division of the Missile Defense Agency," Holland said.  

Holland’s passion for problem-solving is the reason she loves computer science. She said studying this discipline at Samford has prepared her for this opportunity.  

"Because Samford’s Math and Computer Science Department is so small, I was able to get to know my professors well and seek their advice throughout the process,” Holland said.  

"This is an excellent illustration for current and prospective students,” Awtrey said. “When you choose to major in mathematics and computer science at Samford, you join a supportive and vibrant department that is effective in preparing you for success upon graduation.” 

With computer science being one of the most versatile and fastest-growing fields in STEM, career options are endless, Holland noted.  

"I would love to get into cybersecurity, because I think one of the biggest problems facing today is the security of the cyber world,” Holland said. “I want to help others by creating a more secure system, so that people won't have to worry about their information being taken. 

Learn more about the Department of Math and Computer Science. 

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.