COES professor to chair national steering committee for engineering scholars program

Oct 24, 2010 | Engineering and Science, General News

Dr. Jenna Carpenter, the Wayne and Juanita Spinks Professor of Mathematics and associate dean for administration and strategic initiatives for Louisiana Tech University’s College of Engineering and Science, has been elected Chair of the Steering Committee for National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenge Scholars Program.
The Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP) is a combined curricular and extra-curricular program with five specific components that are designed to prepare students to be the generation that solves the grand challenges in engineering and science facing our society in this century.

Dr. Jenna Carpenter

Carpenter, who is also the director of Louisiana Tech’s Grand Challenge Scholars Program, will begin serving a two-year term as Chair of the National Steering Committee on November 1.
Since its inception in 2008, faculty and administrators from Louisiana Tech’s College of Engineering and Science have been actively involved in the GCSP at both the institutional and national levels.  Carpenter is also responsible for developing and facilitating the email listserve for the national GCSP and has served as one of five members of the GCSP’s National Steering Committee.
Louisiana Tech was just the fifth institution in the country to develop a Grand Challenge Scholars Program.
“The goal of the Louisiana Tech’s GCSP is to encourage, educate and prepare our engineering and science students to solve the important and complex problems facing our society in the 21st century,” said Carpenter.
“While many of our faculty and students are already engaging in these types of issues through our curricular programs, research endeavors and service efforts, the GCSP encourages students to both focus their efforts, as well as participate in a wider range of activities and courses than they might otherwise do.”
As part of the GCSP, the National Academy of Engineering has identified 14 “Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century” that serve as a call to action and a focal point for society’s attention to opportunities and challenges affecting quality of life.  The five primary components of the Grand Challenge Scholars Program are research experience, an interdisciplinary curriculum called “Engineering+”, entrepreneurship, global dimension and service learning.
“Because the GCSP requires students to integrate their creativity and technical training with social and global perspectives, it prepares them more broadly than most engineering and science majors,” Carpenter said.  “Students who successfully complete the program will be designated at graduation as a Grand Challenge Scholar by both the College and the National Academy of Engineering.”
“The GCSP helps us communicate to both our current as well as prospective students the wide variety of opportunities available in engineering and science.” 
Carpenter says the vision of Louisiana Tech’s College of Engineering and Science is to be the best college in the world at integrating engineering and science in education, research and service.  The GCSP capitalizes on the College’s strengths in interdisciplinary education and research.
“We have built a number of nationally successful programs in both education and research, and the success of our students and faculty continues to enhance our national and international reputation.”