Skip to main content

Become a GCSP Scholar

National Academy of Engineering

Grand Challenges Scholars Program

SCU Engineering Students: We want you to join the Grand Challenges Scholars Program, recognized by the National Academy of Engineering! Our scholars are preparing to solve global challenges by combining their academic and extracurricular experiences on campus. To be eligible to apply, students must be current engineering students in good academic standing.

GCSP Application Process

The GSCP criteria for selection are founded upon a student’s demonstrated willingness to work and commit themselves to the elements of the GCSP. Each application will be reviewed upon the strength of the proposal including plans for addressing each of the elements of the program and connecting them together with their chosen Grand Challenge.

To help you plan, a draft application form is available for your use. The full application will be submitted via Portfolium. Here is the Portfolium GCSP roadmap to follow.

The application will consist of:

  1. Personal essay (no more than 1 page) on motivation to complete the SCU Grand Challenges Scholar program and the specific GC challenge you want to address.                                
  2. Recommendation(s) from at least one faculty member/mentor. This letter should address the strengths, talents and motivation of the student that will sustain him/her in completing the GCSP components. Ideally, the mentor will have first hand knowledge of the applicant’s work habits, persistence, organizational abilities, and independence, all essential to identifying and completing activities to fulfill GCSP requirements.
  3. Endorsement from the student’s academic advisor (or department chair) who is in a position to gauge whether admission to this program is recommended based on current GPA and courses to come.
  4. A proposed Grand Challenges faculty mentor. Initially, the program director and the Grand Challenges Committee will serve as ‘interim’ mentor(s) for all students interested in the program to help guide them and to help identify a mentor that is linked to their project area. Every effort will be made to find a faculty mentor that is well suited for working with interdisciplinary undergraduate students.
  5. A proposed Grand Challenges Plan Schedule that:
    1. Outlines how the student plans to fulfill each of the five Grand Challenges competency areas  to the Program Requirements as part of their program of study, along with an explicit statement that connects the five competencies to a GCSP theme (Health, Sustainability, Security, Joy of Living) or a particular Grand Challenge (one of the fourteen). This plan is subject to change as the student works through the components and consults with his/her advisor.
    2. Is feasible to be completed in the time remaining prior to the student’s graduation.

Need help? Email the Director Jes Kuczenski at

Contact Us

Program Director: Jes Kuczenski
Administrative Assistant: Kelly Gonzalez

Main Office: Heafey 242

General Engineering
Santa Clara University
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053

Heafey-Bergin, Bldg. 202