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Grand Challenges Scholars Program

Eligibility and Application Process

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The Grand Challenges Scholars Program is currently open to all majors within the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the College of Science and Mathematics. Students in their sophomore year are ideal candidates, but those in their freshman and junior year are also eligible. Interested students are strongly encouraged to enroll in a 1-credit hour course, EGR 1980 – Introduction to Grand Challenges in Engineering, Fall 2019. Application deadlines are one month prior to the semester in which you wish to begin the program.

The selection criteria will give preference to students with GPAs above 3.0. Exceptions will be made for those with lower GPAs who show great interest and have a desire and ability to participate in solving one of the grand challenge areas. Examples include the following:

  • Students with active participation in research labs
  • Leadership experience in student clubs
  • Co-op or project experience
  • Unique community outreach or entrepreneurship experiences

Pathway for GCSP Scholars



Stage 1: First Semester

  • Initial application and planning with a mentor
  • GCSP proposal outlining activities of five competency areas
  • Approval of proposal by the steering committee
  • Sign up for  Introduction to Grand Challenges course (before, after, or during coursework)
  • Join the Grand Challenges student group

Stage 2: Sophomore/Junior

  • Coursework for each pillar (some may overlap with general education courses)
  • Deep pursuit of Research/Creativity project
  • Start Service Learning experiences
  • Additional activity form "Multicultural" or "Innovation" category
  • Attend all GCSP seminars and meeting
  • Monthly meeting with a mentor

Stage 3: Junior/Senior

  • Sign up for 1-credit independent study with a mentor
  • Continuation of research/creativity project
  • Continuation of activities from each of the five categories
  • Begin essays and portfolio building
  • Attend all GCSP meetings

Stage 4: Senior

  • Sign up for 1-credit independent study with a mentor
  • Refine and complete portfolio
  • Portfolio submission and final presentation
  • Graduation with GCSP Certification
  • NAE Certification

Application Materials

The following application materials are required:

  • Completed online application form (below)
  • Identification of a Grand Challenge subject area
  • Impact statement/letter of commitment justifying your topic selection
  • Letter of recommendation from a mentor or faculty advisor
  • A short statement outlining the activities that most interest you in each of the five competencies listed below. This is expected to be an initial reflection only and does not have to be final. You will need to develop a full plan within the first year and submit to the steering committee for approval.
    • Technical creativity
    • Global traditions
    • Multidisciplinary character
    • Innovation and entrepreneurship
    • Social consciousness

Application Form

Indicate None if you are not yet sure
The impact statement is a letter of commitment justifying your topic selection.
Files must be less than 2 MB.
Allowed file types: rtf pdf doc docx ppt pptx odp xls xlsx ods.
Files must be less than 2 MB.
Allowed file types: rtf pdf doc docx odt ppt pptx odp xls xlsx ods.
Files must be less than 2 MB.
Allowed file types: rtf pdf doc docx odt ppt pptx odp xls xlsx ods.