Shelton resident attends meeting at the White House

A Shelton resident briefed White House officials on March 24 as part of a National Academy of Engineering update on the Grand Challenges for Engineering national campaign.

Tarek Sobh, School of Engineering dean and a senior vice president at the University of Bridgeport (UB), was among those who traveled to Washington, D.C.

The Grand Challenges for Engineering is a national campaign that has identified areas of human concern requiring innovative engineering solutions in the future, such as health, alternative energy, sustainability, infrastructure, virtual reality, personalized learning, scientific discovery, and cyber security.

Selected deans from U.S. engineering schools, who have committed to providing solutions to the Grand Challenges, were invited to attend the White House summit to be recognized for their commitment and to demonstrate how their institutions will identify and train engineering students to tackle these challenges.

Once identified, participating students would be designated as Grand Challenge Scholars after training and demonstrating eminence in interdisciplinary research and development, global engagement, service, and entrepreneurship.

‘Perfectly poised’

The UB School of Engineering is “perfectly poised” to meet that challenge, Sobh said. “We’re already doing this, but now it will be formalized,” he said.

The university is home to the largest graduate engineering program in Connecticut and the second largest in New England, in terms of both the number of students and graduates.

It has the fastest-growing graduate biomedical engineering program and Ph.D. program in computer science and engineering in New England, according to Sobh.

UB is home to a high-tech incubator (CTech IncUBator), interdisciplinary research laboratories and centers, serves students from more than 82 countries, and has significant global partnerships.

Sobh described UB as “an accomplished international university by any definition.”

Program begins this fall

Because of these factors, UB is ready to launch an integrated Engineering Grand Challenge credit-bearing certification program within the School of Engineering this fall.

Twenty to 30 undergraduate and graduate students will annually participate in externally sponsored multidisciplinary research within the Grand Challenge areas. They will work at startup companies housed at the CTech IncUBator, and study and work at international STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs with UB’s overseas partner universities.