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Ritchie School Rises to Meet NAE’s Grand Challenges

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In 2008, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) identified 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century. The Grand Challenges are a call to action and serve as a focal point for society’s attention to opportunities and challenges affecting our quality of life.

The NAE Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP) is a combined curricular and extra-curricular program with five components that are designed to prepare students to be the generation that solves the grand challenges facing society in this century.

In 2015, the Ritchie School submitted a letter of commitment to President Obama to participate in the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges Scholars Program.This past fall, Dean Holston and Ritchie School junior Racheal Erhard, double-major in mechanical and electrical engineering, attended the NAE GCSP annual meeting in Washington, DC. This meeting provided an opportunity for both Holston and Erhard to learn best practices for developing and implementing the program from schools with a GSCP already in place.

Over the course of the winter, a faculty committee lead by Senior Associate Dean Haluk Ogmen drafted the Ritchie’s School’s GCSP application for submission to the NAE. The application was submitted in March and a response is expected yet this spring.

JB Holston and Racheal Erhard

This summer, the Ritchie School will send 12 students, along with Ogmen, to the Global Grand Challenges Summit (GGCS) in Washington DC held July 18th-20th. The 2017 GGCS is the third in a collaborative series sponsored by the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE), the UK Royal Academy of Engineering, and the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Part of the GGCS is the Student Day which is held the day preceding the summit. Student Day consists of a business model competition among five undergraduate student teams from each of the three participating countries. In March, 11 teams from universities across the country competed to represent the US in the business model competition and the Wanderlift team from DU was selected by a panel of industry and academic judges as one of five finalists. Best of luck to the Wanderlift team!

Check back here for updates about the Ritchie School’s engagement with the GCSP, including the status of our application and the experience of the Ritchie School students and faculty who attend the GGCS this summer!