Twelve Notre Dame seniors complete Grand Challenges Scholars Program

Grand Challenges Scholars students

Twelve seniors in the College of Engineering have completed the Notre Dame Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP). This program, inspired by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), equips students with the skills and knowledge necessary to find innovative solutions for society’s greatest challenges.

Students in Notre Dame’s program spend two to three years immersed in interdisciplinary learning, research, and entrepreneurial and cultural experiences on a project of their choice related to one of the NAE’s 14 grand challenges

Near the end of their senior year, students present the results of their exploration to their faculty advisors and other students. 

Congratulations to the following seniors who completed the program in 2023!

(Back row, from left)

Leland (Leo) DePole (chemical engineering) investigated ways to increase solar energy’s output efficiency.  

Michael McKenzie (mechanical engineering) used AI for cardiovascular modeling. 

John Sexton (electrical engineering) created hardware and apps for eye-movement controlled wheelchairs

Jack Reford (mechanical engineering) tested the efficacy of nutrient-enriched algae as a substitute for chemical fertilizers. 

Matthew Engels (chemical engineering) looked for new catalytic materials for biomass conversion and CO2 utilization. 

Nolan Fey (electrical engineering) designed walking robots capable of collecting scientific samples in challenging terrain. 

David Webster (chemical engineering) researched new systems for electrochemical energy storage and conversion.

(Front row, from left)

Cameron DeShetler (mechanical engineering) investigated the relationship between cardiovascular disease and social determinants of health. 

Alex Kolodychak (chemical engineering) researched injectable hydrogels for targeted drug delivery. 

Sarah Wells (mechanical engineering) informed climate-change models by collecting data on wave-dispersed droplets of seawater. 

Sabrina Antonucci (chemical engineering) developed diagnostic tests for COVID and antibodies. 

Lyla Senn (chemical engineering) fabricated membranes for water purification. 

“Like many before them, this year’s graduating Grand Challenges Scholars have jump-started their impact on the world by their participation in the program,” said Kerry Meyers, assistant dean for student development in the College of Engineering and director of the Grand Challenges Scholars Program.

“We look forward to seeing them flourish and make a difference in the years ahead.”

— Karla Cruise, Notre Dame College of Engineering