NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

Alumni
  • Pooja Moolchandani
    University of Southern California, 2019, B.S. in Mechanical Engineering w/Computation Track

    “Participating in USC Viterbi’s Grand Challenges Hackathon introduced me to the various methods to contribute to global service and our society. Being a Scholar has helped me stay motivated while working in a Department or Defense ...

  • Sami Golaski
    Bucknell University, 2018, B.S.B.A Accounting and Financial Management

    “Working to become a Grand Challenge Scholar has pushed me to venture outside of the accounting world, and immerse myself in interdisciplinary experiences that allow me to create value with my business acumen whether it be engineering ...

  • Rachel Teater
    Ohio State University, 2018, B.S. Biomedical Engineering w/Minor in Humanitarian Engineering

    Being in the GCSP encouraged me to pursue a well-rounded, global education. I found opportunities to perform research and travel to India and Ghana and also took a fantastic class in entrepreneurship that I never would have without GCSP. My long ...

  • Rhea Choudhury
    University of Southern California, 2019, B.S. Biomedical Engineering w/Minor in Healthcare Studies

    “GCSP significantly impacted the way I approached my engineering education at USC, encouraging me to understand the medical field in a holistic, interdisciplinary way. I focused on the challenge Engineering Better Medicines, but chose to ...

  • Amos Heng
    National University of Singapore, 2019, B.S. Mechanical Engineering and Innovation & Design

    “I was first inspired to enter the Medtech industry during my pre-college days as an army medic when I saw the difference medical devices made in saving lives. During my GCSP journey, I took the opportunity to embark on various Medtech ...


The NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering, created in 2008, presented an aspirational vision of what engineering needs to deliver to all people on the planet in the 21st century. In just 15 words, the vision it calls for is:

“Continuation of life on the planet,
making our world more sustainable, secure, healthy, and joyful.”

The century-spanning vision was based on 14 GOALS that the NAE recognized as necessary to deliver this vision in the 21st century.

Numerous engineering schools and K-12 programs have adopted the NAE Grand Challenges to inspire practical projects for their students through an educational supplement called the Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP), which identifies the following five competencies that students must achieve to prepare to address these global challenges:

  1. Talent Competency: mentored research/creative experience on a Grand Challenge-like topic
  2. Multidisciplinary Competency: understanding multidisciplinarity of engineering systems solutions developed through personal engagement
  3. Viable Business/Entrepreneurship Competency: understanding, preferably developed through experience, of the necessity of a viable business model for solution implementation
  4. Multicultural Competency: understanding different cultures, preferably through multicultural experiences, to ensure cultural acceptance of proposed engineering solutions
  5. Social Consciousness Competency: understanding that engineering solutions should primarily serve people and society reflecting social consciousness


Addressing any of the Grand Challenges for Engineering naturally spans multiple disciplines, and because solutions are implemented differently in different parts of the world, the program prepares students to think in international terms and to develop globally relevant perspectives and skills. 

The GCSP was inspired by the NAE but is not controlled by the academy. Each adopting university, college, and school is independently drawn to the program—often by its students—and defines its own supplemental approach to preparing students in the five competencies within its existing engineering program. Each institution selects its students, determines their attainment of the competencies, and decides how it will recognize their achievement.

For more information on the GCSP, please contact Sherri Hunter (SHUNTER@NAE.EDU) or GCSP Proposal Review Committee Chair Katie Evans (KEVANS@LATECH.EDU).

Sponsored by