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Grand Challenge Scholars

Will You Accept the Challenge?

Western New England University is proud to be among an elite group of institutions in the nation to offer the Grand Challenge Scholars Program of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) to our students. The Challenge allows qualifying students to be able to supplement their education with specific curricular components that address the five areas of the Grand Challenge:

  • Research experience
  • Interdisciplinary curriculum the NAE refers to as "Engineering+"
  • These span the disciplines of public policy, business, law, ethics, human behavior, etc.
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Global dimension
  • Service learning

By focusing their academics in these areas, students will have the educational foundation to take on the challenges of the future.

Learn more at National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenge Scholars Program

Selection and Anticipated Involvement

All engineering students will be invited to participate in the Grand Challenge Scholars program during freshman year, with full appointment occurring during the junior year. Each academic year will require the completion of tasks with increasing involvement in the program, culminating in the Senior Design Project and/or significant research experience in a Grand Challenge area.

GC scholars will be appointed by the Program Director upon the recommendation from a committee comprised of his/her academic advisor, Assistant Dean, and an at-large member (e.g., Western New England University faculty outside of the College of Engineering, a Western New England University staff member, industrial advisor, or alumni). This committee reviews and assesses the required materials, the portfolio, and present and future plans. The committee also suggests activities, projects, and internships and Research Experience for Undergraduates (REUs) to promote the intramural and extramural activities in the GCSP.

A summary of the four-year participation and appointment process is as follows:

Freshman year: All students are invited to explore possibilities of Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP). Students complete a brief application to inform their academic advisor and the program director of their interest.

Sophomore year: Students apply for conditional appointment to GCSP with a second application and present their portfolio with evidence of their initial commitment.

Junior year: Students apply for full appointment to GCSP with a proposal and academic plan for completing research and course requirements. They present their portfolio with evidence of commitment and work completed.

Senior year: Students meet with their academic advisor and GCSP director and committee to assess their progress in order to assure that GCSP requirements are met and documented. The students present their portfolio with evidence of commitment and work completed.

After freshman year, conditional and full appointment into the Grand Challenge Scholars Program will be based on achieving and maintaining a minimum 2.70 cumulative GPA, satisfactory academic progress, selective service status as required, and full-time status. It is strongly suggested the student maintain a minimum 2.70 major and cumulative GPA. Additionally, the committee will review the student’s materials to determine that all requirements are met, and subsequently grant approval for continuation and completion of the GCS program.


Founding Members

Duke University, Pratt College of Engineering

The Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

The University of Southern California, Viterbi College of Engineering


Arizona State University, Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering

Lafayette College

Louisiana Tech University, College of Engineering and Science

North Carolina State University, College of Engineering

St. Louis University, Parks College of Engineering, Aviation & Technology

The University of Tennessee, College of Engineering

Western New England University, College of Engineering

For more information, visit the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenge Scholars Program website.