Fresno State is among more than 120 U.S. engineering schools leading a movement in engineering education announced at the White House today. In a letter presented to President Barack Obama, the Lyles College of Engineering and peer institutions committed to establish 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 schools plan to graduate more than 20,000 formally recognized “Grand Challenge Engineers” over the next decade.

The Lyles College of Engineering plans to develop and offer a formal Grand Challenge Scholars Program starting in the 2015-16 academic year. The program will focus on providing students with:

  • Hands-on research or design projects connected to the Grand Challenges.
  • Real-world, interdisciplinary experiential learning with clients and mentors.
  • Entrepreneurship and innovation experience.
  • Global and cross-cultural perspectives.
  • Service-learning.

Students in the program will develop expertise in one or more of these areas, while also gaining exposure and experience in each of the others. The program will provide opportunities for students to reflect on how these capabilities can empower them to become leaders in addressing societal challenges in the U.S. and abroad.

“This program when implemented within the next year will provide Fresno State Lyles College of Engineering students a unique blend of multi-disciplinary learning opportunities that will prepare them for advanced research, graduate education, and professional careers to meet the complex challenges that face society,” said Dr.Ram Nunna, dean of the Lyles College of Engineering. He expects at least 20 Fresno State students will participate in the program each year.

In conjunction with the announcement, Nunna is participating in working session with Senior White House officials at the White House Eisenhower Executive Office Building and at the National Academy of Engineering Keck Center in Washington DC.

“Lyles College Students will have opportunities to work with our faculty and other experts in areas such as energy, water, transportation, communications, unmanned aerial systems, advanced materials, geotechnical engineering, sustainable infrastructure, photogrammetry, manufacturing, geospatial systems, and more. Our Innoventures program and our partnership with the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and numerous industry partners will foster innovation and entrepreneurial activities. Our service-learning programs such as Engineers Without Borders and our partnerships with the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning and the Division of Continuing and Global Education will provide our students with numerous service learning and study-abroad opportunities.”

Details on the initiative can be found at

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