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About The Grand Challenge Scholars Program

As part of a 2-to-3-year cohort experience, students will be mentored by faculty and peers as they progress through their engineering studies and gain a broader understanding of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenges across health, sustainability, security, and joy of learning. Students will be pushed to fill out a complete range of competencies to ensure they are prepared to be problem-solvers working on challenges that make a difference in the world.

About The Grand Challenge Scholars Program
National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges

• Provide access to clean drinking water
• Engineer better medicines
• Reverse-engineer the brain
• Advance health informatics


• Provide energy from fusion
• Develop carbon sequestration methods
• Restore and improve urban infrastructure
• Manage the nitrogen cycle
• Make solar energy economical


• Prevent nuclear terror
• Secure cyberspace

Joy of Living
Joy of Living

• Enhance virtual reality
• Advance personalized learning
• Engineer the tools of scientific discovery

Program Benefits

There are many benefits to joining the UH-GCSP, including but not limited to:

  • Gaining a better understanding of game-changing engineering concepts
  • Receiving a letter of achievement upon completion of the program and special recognition at the Cullen College’s Commencement Ceremony
  • Recognition from the National Academy of Engineering
  • Access to unique scholarships limited specifically to UH-GCSP scholars
  • Numerous networking opportunities with the option to attend national GCSP conferences
  • Being a part of a cohort of like-minded individuals who all want to make the world a better place
Program Benefits


Program Requirements

Once students are accepted into the program, students will work to complete a comprehensive portfolio, which will be formally presented at a pre-approved forum. The portfolio requirements include:

  • Formal research or professional experience: a project or research based off one of the NAE Grand Challenges outlined above
  • Multidisciplinary Curriculum: completion of two or more courses outside of engineering that relate to the student’s chosen NAE Grand Challenge theme
  • Business Presence and Entrepreneurship: evidence of viable business entrepreneurship competency either by participation in an approved program such as Red Labs or EPIE, or through completion of a course, minor, or certificate in entrepreneurship, or equivalent accelerator program
  • Multicultural Reach: active membership in a global professional or student organization that relates to the chosen research area, or alternately this requirement can be met through study abroad or leadership in an international project
  • Social Consciousness: clearly demonstrated social consciousness through participation and/or leadership in community service projects or outreach events. This requirement can also be achieved through mentorship roles such as teaching assistants, peer mentors or student ambassadors, or through completion of a service-learning course.

Please find a list of pre-approved activates for competency completion here.

To retain active status in the program, students must:

  • Remain Cullen College student in good standing with the university
  • Keep their UH-GCSP slide up to date and submit reflections within one week of completing an experience
  • Attend UH Grand Challenge Summit every semester
Start Your Application

Apply Now


Alexandra Landon
Director, University of Houston Grand Challenge Scholars Program
E316 Engineering Building 2
amlando2 [at] (amlando2[at]central[dot]uh[dot]edu)