N.C. A&T’s College of Engineering was the recent recipient of a $1 million National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant designed to test the educational research proposition that an engineering curriculum featuring innovation and leadership development will promote academic performance and stimulate entrepreneurship in engineering students.
Dr. Paul Stanfield, an associate professor and interim chair of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, serves as the principal investigator for the “PrIDE” grant. NSF’s Program for Innovation Driving Entrepreneurship (PrIDE) in Engineering Scholars program provides 22 academically strong, low-income students primarily from rural areas, organized into two cohorts, with four years of funding. Accepted students will major in one of N.C. A&T’s nine undergraduate engineering programs in the College of Engineering. The PrIDE Scholars Program allows these 22 students to focus on their studies without concern for funding, increase retention year-over-year, positively impacting progression to degrees in engineering.
“The PrIDE Scholars Program allows us to integrate some of the already-successful initiatives we’ve been pursuing in the College of Engineering in a way that allows us to measure effectiveness over a student’s entire experience here at the university,” explains Stanfield. “The program connects existing College activities in innovation, the Grand Challenges Scholar Program, and implementation of an engineering leadership effort centered around the “Learn-Do-Lead” model.”
PrIDE Scholars will discover and build on their natural strengths and passions while addressing one of the 14 Grand Engineering Challenge themes. PrIDE scholars will also be provided with a balanced opportunity to grow as innovators and leaders with formal recognition in a Leadership Belt recognition system which mirrors the well-known Six Sigma Certification process.
The College of Engineering is marketing the PrIDE Scholars program to high schools across the state, with a special focus on rural counties. By Spring 2020 the College expects to have filled the first cohort of 11 students to experience the new, structured process designed to develop innovation and leadership beginning in the early stages of their academic careers.