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Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP) Created

Mar 23, 2015

The College of Engineering (CoE) recently announced the creation of Georgia Tech’s Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP), which will give self-directed students the chance to participate in a dynamic community of students and faculty in addressing the Challenges. "I am confident it will inspire our students to strive higher and address this century’s Grand Challenges with a global mindset," said Gary S. May, dean of the College of Engineering.

Georgia Tech will be one of the first cohort of GCSP schools who were announced in a letter to President Obama on March 23, 2015.There are currently 20 active GCSPs and more than 160 NAE-designated Grand Challenge Scholars have graduated to date. Half of the graduates are women—compared with just 19 percent of U.S. undergraduate engineering students—demonstrating the program’s appeal to groups typically underrepresented in engineering.

In 2008, the National Academy of Engineering identified 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century. The Grand Challenges are a call to action and serve as a focal point for society's attention to opportunities and challenges affecting our quality of life. They include such challenges as energy, medicine, infrastructure, and cybersecurity.

Aiming to graduate about 150 scholars each year, the Georgia Tech GCSP program will "empower these students to be fearless learners and problem-solvers," said May. Freshmen and transfer students will be introduced to GCSP early in their Georgia Tech careers, and potential scholars will develop individual plans to fulfill five components of the program: hands-on project or research experience, interdisciplinary learning experience, entre- or intrapreneurship experience, cross-cultural experience, and social-action experience. The scholars will chronicle their activities through portfolios, and as students progress through the program, they will serve as mentors to younger participants.

The program is due to begin in the fall of 2015.