SMART program paves the way for recent ARL hire

October 18, 2012

Story Highlights

  • SMART program is an opportunity for students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in STEM disciplines to receive a full scholarship
  • Internships lead to fulltime employment
  • Garneau working to develop new tools that assist the integration of human factors in the design and evaluation of systems intended for use by the Soldier

After completing two eight-week internship's through the Department of Defense's Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) scholarship for service program, Chris Garneau, who is a recent graduate of Penn State University, began working full time at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory's (ARL) Human Research and Engineering Directorate (HRED) in the summer of 2012.

The SMART program is an opportunity for students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines to receive a full scholarship and be contributing to Army research and development upon degree completion. The program is particularly interested in supporting individuals that demonstrate an aptitude and interest in conducting theoretical and applied research and primarily targets "hand-on-the-bench" researchers and engineers.

"I found out about the SMART program through meeting John Lockett at a conference at which I was presenting research I was conducting related to human factors," said Garneau. "He's the one that helped me get into the SMART program here at ARL."

Garneau worked directly with Lockett throughout his two internships during the summers of 2010 and 2011. During his time with the SMART program, Lockett served as his mentor and was Chief of the MANPRINT Methods and Analysis Branch at HRED. As of July, Lockett is the Chief of the Soldier Performance Division.

"Chris's internships at ARL allowed him to gain a better understanding of how the Army does business allowing for a smooth transition from student to full time government researcher," said Lockett.

Lockett said that during the first internship Garneau observed a collection of Army and Marine Corps anthropometric data, or body dimensions, as part of a Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) effort to update 30-year-old data.

"This represented a once in a career opportunity for Chris to see the origin of the type of data that would form the basis of his dissertation," said Lockett. "In 2011, Chris surveyed ARL and other human factors practitioners on their use of anthropometric data for setting design requirements and analyzing materiel concepts."

Garneau completed his undergraduate, master's and doctorate degrees in mechanical engineering and is now working to develop new tools, including mobile software apps, that assist the integration of human factors in the design and evaluation of systems intended for use by the Soldier.

His dissertation research enabled him to create an app for visualizing anthropometry and determining the range of anthropometry that must be considered for a target level of user accommodation.

Assessments of minimum user space requirements for equipment manufactured for the Army are conducted by HRED personnel who provide human factors engineering and Human System Integration (MANPRINT) Program support to acquisition Program Managers as well as to the Army Test and Evaluation Command.

Garneau is also working on a project to convert an older software program known as "JASS" into a mobile app. JASS, which stands for Job Assessment Software System, encourages the efficient allocation of manpower by enabling an evaluator to define and measure human aptitudes required to do a job. JASS has existed as a software tool within ARL and the Army Research Institute for nearly three decades, but has become outdated and fallen into disuse—a situation that the new app aims to rectify.

"These new apps are going to be extremely helpful when collecting and analyzing certain MANPRINT data and for visually conveying results," said Pamela Savage-Knepshield, Chief of HRED's Human Factors Integration Division.


Last Update / Reviewed: October 18, 2012