Grand Challenges Scholars Program

In 2019, Rollins partnered with the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) as part of the distinguished NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering Scholars Program. This global initiative seeks to inspire burgeoning engineers of all backgrounds to address some of the greatest engineering problems facing humanity in the 21st century. Rollins was the first four-year institution selected to participate in the program that doesn’t offer an engineering degree. Our interdisciplinary approach to education is perfectly suited to meet the challenges, especially when you consider how many of the sciences offered at Rollins intersect with engineering. We encourage any student majoring in one of the sciences who holds an interest in engineering to apply and participate.


Rollins students in the Dominican Republic.

Choose Your Challenge

When it issued its Grand Challenges for Engineering, the NAE established 14 goals—ranging from engineering better medicines to providing access to clean water—that must be met to make our world more sustainable, secure, healthy, and joyful. Through Rollins’ Grand Challenges Scholars Program, pre-engineering and science students design a set of experiences to address one of these 14 challenges.

Students in the middle of a physics experiment.

Laser-Focused Curriculum

Once they’ve defined their focus, participating students take specific RFLA courses that apply to the competencies set forth by the NAE, write annual reflections about their progress, participate in community-based projects, field studies, study abroad opportunities, student-faculty collaborative research projects, and more. The program culminates with a capstone course where each student presents a research project at the RFLA Symposium.

A student works in a chemistry lab.

360-Degree Approach

Students meet five competencies set forth by the NAE. You’ll prove your talent by expounding on one of the Grand Challenges topics and demonstrate that you can synthesize everything you’ve learned on a multi-disciplinary level. You’ll show business acumen by creating a viable entrepreneurship plan , and you’ll underscore the importance of a multicultural worldview as a critical component to problem solving. Finally, you’ll demonstrate social consciousness by engineering solutions that put people and society first.

Student-faculty collaborative research.

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