In 2008 an international group of leading technological thinkers identified 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st century. These 14 Grand Challenges, which are integral for improving life on our planet, fall into four cross-cutting themes: Sustainability, Health, Security, and Joy of Living.
Tulane’s School of Science and Engineering (SSE) is unique in that it combines engineering, math, and science all within one academic school. The integrated, collaborative nature of Tulane’s SSE provides a unique opportunity for Scholars to address the 14 Grand Challenges from both a scientific and engineering perspective. Collaborative efforts in research, curriculum, and programming mean that our students are ready to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century, a time when scientific breakthroughs are driving technological innovations.
The NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP) provides an opportunity for a select group of Tulane students to be recognized for their commitment to and engagement in research, entrepreneurship, global awareness, service and interdisciplinary approaches to real-world scientific and engineering problems. Through five program competencies, and working with other Tulane GC Scholars, students will address a theme or challenge of interest. The goals of the GCSP are consistent with the mission of the Tulane School of Science and Engineering, which is “to provide outstanding opportunities for learning and discovery in science and engineering and to foster an environment that is student focused, research intensive, interdisciplinary, entrepreneurial, and responsive to the needs of the community”.
The Tulane Grand Challenge Scholars are distinct from their non-Scholar colleagues in the following ways:
- Scholars have applied and been selected for the program based, in part, on their passion for delving into the Grand Challenge themes. Scholars do not necessarily have the highest GPA, but they are competent and passionate about one or more Grand Challenge themes and are willing to put in the time and effort to learn as much as they can about the selected topic(s).
- The Scholars have received individualized mentoring and additional programming available only to participants in the GCSP. One of the goals of the additional programming is to help the Scholars integrate what they have learned from these five different competencies and to gain a better understanding of how their work fits within the framework of the Grand Challenges themes. To this end, Scholars have had the opportunity to interact with and gain additional mentoring from alumni and other professionals in settings not available to non-Scholars.
- In their final presentations, completed at the end of the senior year, Scholars have articulated their understanding of the Grand Challenge theme that was the focus of their work.
All Scholars who successfully complete the GCSP will receive an official certificate of program completion and a special ceremonial color stole that they can wear at graduation.