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Faculty member speaking with students

Program History

In 2008, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) 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. To prepare students to be the generation that solves the grand challenges facing society in this century, the NAE developed the Grand Challenge Scholars Program.

Program Description

The Texas A&M Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP) is a three-year program, that is promoted to freshman, with applications due early in the fall of the sophomore year.

  • During their first year in the GCSP (Sophomore year), GC Scholars will work with GC Faculty Mentors to plan their customized GCSP curriculum, ensuring that it meets all five GCSP components. The GC Faculty Mentors will also supervise the GCSP research experiences and theses. GC Scholars will be assigned an initial GC Faculty Mentor based upon the interests identified in their application; as the GC Scholars identify and refine their research topic, their GC Faculty Mentor assignments may be adjusted.
  • During their second year in the GCSP (Junior year), GC Scholars will be actively engaged in the research for the GCSP thesis and will make progress on achieving the other components of the GCSP. The GCSP thesis will require a separate section describing how their research can be used in solving one more of the NAE grand challenges.
  • During their third year in the GCSP (Senior year), GC Scholars will complete their GCSP requirements and will mentor students in the first and second year of the GCSP. They will also serve as GCSP ambassadors, by participating in outreach and recruitment activities for K-12 students, by presenting their GC thesis work at internal and external conferences and meetings, and generally representing the program as needed.

Annual Spring Symposium

During the spring of each year, the program will host a Grand Challenge Scholars Program Symposium that will be open to the entire campus community. The symposium will serve to bring visibility to the Engineering Grand Challenges in general and to the Grand Challenge Scholar Program at Texas A&M in particular. The symposium will feature a keynote address by a prominent engineer on a topic relevant to the grand challenges. All current GC Scholars will participate in some manner in the event:

  • Graduating GC Scholars will present their work with short highlight talks and posters during a reception
  • Second year GC Scholars will present posters describing their current research
  • All GC Scholars will participate in special networking activities with the keynote speaker

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