Louisiana Tech part of engineering education initiative announced at White House

Mar 27, 2015 | Engineering and Science

Louisiana Tech University is among more than 120 U.S. universities who are leading a transformative movement in engineering education that was announced recently at the White House.
In a letter presented to President Barack Obama, Louisiana Tech and the other participating institutions have committed to establishing special educational programs designed to prepare undergraduates to solve “Grand Challenges” – complex yet achievable goals to improve national and international health, security, sustainability and quality of life in the 21st century. Together, the universities plan to graduate more than 20,000 formally recognized “Grand Challenge Engineers” over the next decade.
GCSP-sLouisiana Tech incorporates the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenges into its engineering education in a variety of ways and has had an active Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP) since 2005 – the fifth institution in the nation to offer the program.
“We are so pleased to have been involved in the Grand Challenge Scholars Program as one of the early adopters,” said Dr. Jenna Carpenter, associate dean for undergraduate studies in Louisiana Tech’s College of Engineering and Science and chair of the National Steering Committee for the GCSP. “Our Scholars have amassed an impressive list of accomplishments to date, including admission to prestigious graduate and medical schools and securing top positions with corporations.
“Our GCSP students have received NSF Graduate Fellowships and have engaged in important projects such as developing water filtration systems, non-invasive glucose sensors and a campus-wide recycling program as well as having been featured for their work in several national publications.”
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy specifically recognized the Louisiana Tech GCSP for promoting diversity in engineering and science in a recent blog, noting that while only 20 percent of undergraduate engineering students nationwide are women, two-thirds of the Louisiana Tech Grand Challenge Scholars have been women.
“Under the leadership of Dr. Carpenter, the College of Engineering and Science was among the first universities to establish a NAE Grand Challenges Scholar Program,” Dr. Hisham Hegab, dean of the College of Engineering and Science said. “We are excited to be a part of this national initiative that provides our students with the opportunity to be better prepared to meet the future needs of society.”
As part of the new initiative, Louisiana Tech will graduate a minimum of 20 Grand Challenge Engineers per year, who will be prepared to lead the way in solving large-scale, global problems, such as making solar energy affordable, securing cyberspace, engineering better medicines, and providing access to clean water.
Grand Challenge Engineers participate in integrated education that includes a hands-on research or design project connected to the Grand Challenges; real-world, interdisciplinary experiential learning with clients and mentors; entrepreneurship and innovation experience; global and cross-cultural perspectives; and service-learning.
For more information about Louisiana Tech’s Grand Challenge Scholars Program, visit
Written by Brandy McKnight –