Who can apply to be a Grand Challenge Scholar?

While it is expected that the GCSP will eventually be open to all majors, the application process this year will be open only to first- and second-year engineering students and to third-year engineering students who have completed or arranged to complete a satisfactory research project somewhat related to a Grand Challenge. Applicants must have a GPA above 3.0. Students who have a record of academic misconduct or who are on credit warning are not eligible for this program.

What is the process for applying to be a Grand Challenge Scholar?

  1. Submit a completed application through Qualtrics. This link is to a word document that indicates the information requested in the application.
  2. Upload a PDF copy of your academic progress report.
  3. Upload a completed endorsement form or have your academic advisor give the form to Professor Toole.

Why is there an application process and minimum qualifications?

The primary reason for limiting the GCSP to approximately 20 students per class year is to ensure there is sufficient space in the GCSP summer course and in special GCSP activities.  Another reason is to ensure that each GC Scholar has sufficient support from faculty and staff who will advise you on completing your GCSP requirements.  A third reason is to create a solid cohort of highly motivated, high performing students who are actively engaged and committed to the goals of the program.

If I am not accepted, can I apply again?

Yes, you may apply one more time during a subsequent semester.  It is recommended that you first consult with the GCSP Director before applying a second time.

Who will make the decision regarding my application?

GC Scholars will be selected by a subset of the GCSP Steering Committee, including one faculty representative from each engineering department and an Associate Dean from the College of Arts & Sciences.


What are the requirements to graduate with the GCSP designation?

The National Academy of Engineering requires all GC Scholars to complete five sets of broadening and high-engagement activities relating to one or more Grand Challenges.  These include broadening and relevant courses, research, service-learning, study abroad and entrepreneurship. 

Will I receive help to ensure I complete the five GCSP requirements?

Although GC Scholars are expected to take initiative and demonstrate the ability to work independently, program participants will receive support in identifying opportunities and choosing the most appropriate means for completing their GCSP requirements. The GCSP website identifies engineering and non-engineering courses most relevant to each Grand Challenge.  Each GC Scholar will be assigned an advisory committee of 2-3 faculty/staff members to oversee the student's progress and provide advice on which opportunities would make the most sense given the student's interests, academic background, etc.  This committee will complement, not replace, the guidance received from each student's academic adviser.

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

Yes, all relevant activities experienced after you arrived at Bucknell will count towards your GCSP requirements.  For example, if you participated in ENGR 290, did summer research, or took relevant courses before you were accepted, these activities will count.

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

The National Academy will not recognize partial completion of GCSP requirements.  Therefore, students who do not complete all of the requirements will not receive the certificate from the NAE or have the GCSP noted on their transcript.

What special costs are associated with being a Grand Challenge Scholar?

Study abroad always involves travel expenses and often a program fee.  Also, the required three-week summer course will have tuition and room and board costs.  Some service-learning experiences (such as the Bucknell Brigade) may have travel costs.  GC Scholars will be required to pay for these expenses, however, we are working to solicit donations and line up internal funds to substantially reduce the costs for students who are on financial aid. 

What happens if my GPA drops below the minimum GPA after I am accepted?

Once accepted into the GCSP, GC Scholars must maintain an overall GPA above 2.8.  A GC Scholar who is asked to leave the program may continue to pursue GCSP requirements and request to be accepted back into the program when their cumulative GPA exceeds 2.8.

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

You simply need to meet with the GCSP Director to let him/her know that you are no longer interested in being in the program.


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