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The Grand Challenge Scholars Program(GCSP)
The National Academy of Engineering has recently approved UND’s Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP). The GCSP at UND offers undergraduate students the opportunity to broaden their academic and practical experience beyond a traditional engineering education, while helping to solve one of the world’s greatest technological challenges. While in the program, students will build a customized portfolio of activities, courses, and projects encompassing interdisciplinary, entrepreneurial, global, service, and research experiences, all related to one or more of the National Academy’s 14 Grand Challenges.
Students will have numerous opportunities to build their portfolios by leveraging the many existing resources both at the University and within the dynamic North Dakota business and entrepreneur ecosystem. Below are a few examples of how students will be able to meet the requirements of the GCSP by taking advantage of opportunities that already exist:
- Conduct a research project through the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, the Advanced Undergraduates Research Awards (AURA) program, or through a paid position with a research center or an individual faculty researcher.
- Learn how to: a) start a business, and/or b) build and market innovative new products in an existing company through coursework and other extracurricular activities, or work on real-world projects related to the Grand Challenges with startups or US market entry firms from abroad housed at UND’s Center for Innovation (CFI) and/or with innovation oriented larger companies in UND’s entrepreneurial business ecosphere.
- Gain a global perspective by participating in one of the numerous study abroad and international exchange programs coordinated by UND’s Office of International Programs, or work on an entrepreneurial project with an international company through UND’s Jodsaas Center for Engineering Leadership and Entrepreneurship.
- Participate in service learning and engineering outreach projects through the College of Engineering and Mines’ Office of Student Outreach and Experience, or by joining the student chapter of Engineers Without Borders.
- Gain a broader perspective by taking advantage of the numerous opportunities on campus to learn from or work with people outside of engineering (business, public policy, law, medicine, etc.).
The Larson Foundation, a local organization that supports students in our region, has agreed to sponsor GCSP participants in order to help ensure their success in the program. As they work to complete the GCSP requirements, students will receive a $1000/yr stipend and are eligible for up to an additional $6000 to support research, service learning projects, or global experiences.
To date we have been able to recruit 19 bright students into this program into two cohorts of 2016 and 2017. The first cohort started in fall 2016, and has 10 students, who are successfully continuing in the program. One student will be the first one to complete the program in spring 2018. The second cohort started in fall 2017 and has 9 students.
The recruitment of students began in April, 2016 and consisted of the following activities:
- Development of a flyer and brochure to advertise the program. This flyer was posted throughout the engineering buildings, while the brochure was distributed to faculty and advisers.
- Email marketing to engineering students and faculty.
- Discussions during new student orientation, as well as during “Conversation with the Dean” events for existing students.
- Class visits to introduce the program
Grand challenges scholars are from various departments including Mechanical, Chemical, Civil and Electrical Engineering. Out of 19 students 6 are male and 13 are female. These students not only are role models in terms of their activities in this program but also have taken leadership roles in other activities such as Engineers Without Boarders, Society for Women in Engineering, Habitat for Humanities and First Lego League. A few of students in the 2016 cohort have taken opportunities to study abroad and broaden their global experience. A few have taken entrepreneurship and marketing courses, and/or a certificate in entrepreneurship. All students from 2016 cohort are already involved in research projects such as clean water, solar energy and data security.
In addition to these students a group of senior students were working on a project that brought another success story. The project entitled “Key Nutritional Intake Feedback System (KNIFES)” was selected as the finalist in the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenges in the category of Health Informatics. The project was presented in Washington D.C. as one of the top 12 teams in USA in April 2017. The project members were Jeffrey Gendreau, Joseph Aymond, Tyler Kast, and Eric Horton, all senior students in Electrical Engineering department, advised by Dr. Reza Fazel-Rezai, Associate Professor in Electrical Engineering.
KNIFES team: Eric Horton, Jeffrey Gendreau, Joseph Aymond, and Tyler Kast.
The welcome session in Fall 2017 was held on August 29th 2017 , Dr. El-Rewini talked to students about the Grand Challenges Program.
Further information can be found here: http://engineering.und.edu/gcsp/index.cfm