Dr. Smith grew up in Clarion County in western Pennsylvania and attended Clarion University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with the following degrees Bachelors of Science in Chemistry and also Mathematics along with Bachelors of Science Education in both Chemistry and Mathematics. He then attended graduate school at the University of Florida to pursue a Doctorate of Philosophy in Chemistry, where he developed fluorescent, magnetic, and gold nanoparticle systems for the detection of biological targets.
Dr. Smith began his career teaching general and analytical chemistry topics as well as involving undergraduate students in research at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia. He left Georgia after four years for a two year National Research Council Fellowship at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, where he continued to develop nanoparticle based sensors.
Dr. Smith then became a contractor to continue working with the Air Force in Ohio, where he began fabricating microfluidic devices and continued working with nanoparticle systems to further understand how these sensors functioned. The continued nanoparticle work involved studying nanoparticles and the interaction of the target recognition elements via nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analysis. He continued working as a contractor for two years before joining the faculty at Alvernia University.