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Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP)

Frequently Asked Questions

Why become a Grand Challenges Scholar?

Hajim School Grand Challenges Scholars are recognized as members of a selective group who have gone beyond the typical undergraduate expectations with a combined curricular and co-curricular program that includes five components as specified by the NAE:

    1. Project or research experience related to a specific Grand Challenge

    2. Interdisciplinary curriculum at the intersection of engineering and the liberal arts

    3. Business or entrepreneurship experience

    4. Global curricular or co-curricular experience

    5. Service Learning curricular or co-curricular experience

Students who complete the five components of the GCSP successfully will achieve the designation of Grand Challenges Scholar, endorsed by both the University of Rochester and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and will be uniquely prepared to collaborate and succeed in a transdisciplinary and global environment. Grand Challenges Scholars are part of a selective group recognized by faculty, classmates, graduate schools and especially employers for engaging in a transformative set of engineering, educational, and leadership experiences.

What happens after I complete all the GCSP requirements?

Upon completing the five requirements of the GCSP, students must submit an application to complete the Grand Challenge Scholar Program. Part of this application is either an essay or a poster where the student relates the five components to their selected Grand Challenge and shows how they have impacted the challenge under investigation. 

What if I don't complete all of the GCSP requirements before I graduate?

The NAE will not recognize partial completion of GCSP requirements, so students who do not complete all of the requirements will not receive the certificate from the NAE or have the special cord at graduation.

Are there additional costs associated with being a Grand Challenges Scholar?

Study abroad always involves travel expenses. Some service-learning experiences may have travel costs. Scholars will be required to pay for these expenses.

What if I am accepted then decide I no longer want to be a Grand Challenges Scholar?

You simply need to let Lisa Norwood, the GCSP Director, know that you are no longer interested in being in the program.

I am not an engineering major, and I’m not sure whether I can help to solve any of the Grand Challenges.  Should I still apply?

Absolutely! We welcome students from all majors, and are actively trying to build a community of scholars that spans a range of disciplines. Solving the Grand Challenges will need the input of professionals in a wide range of areas, and our aim is to build skills that will allow students from different perspectives work together towards solutions.

Can activities I completed before I was accepted into the GCSP count towards my requirements?

Yes, all relevant activities experienced after you arrived at University of Rochester will count towards your GCSP requirements. 

More information:

Learn more about the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges Scholars Program by visiting their official website.

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