2022 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education Awarded to GCSP Pioneers


Thu, January 06, 2022

Washington D.C., January 06, 2022 —

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) announced today that the 2022 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education will be awarded to the Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP) pioneers Jenna P. Carpenter, Thomas C. Katsouleas, Richard K. Miller and Yannis C. Yortsos. They are being recognized “for creating an innovative education program that prepares students to become future engineering leaders who will address the NAE Grand Challenges of Engineering.” The $500,000 annual award recognizes new methods and concepts in education aimed at developing effective engineering leaders.

Offered at engineering schools worldwide, the GCSP provides a combined curricular and extracurricular approach to prepare undergraduate students to tackle objectives that could dramatically improve quality of life around the world. Katsouleas, Miller and Yortsos co-founded the program in 2009 at their respective universities — Duke University, Olin College and the University of Southern California. Carpenter joined the original group later and made valuable contributions, drawing on her research on integrating STEM curricula. She served for seven years as chair of the GCSP steering committee. 

“The NAE is honored to recognize Carpenter, Katsouleas, Miller and Yortsos for their tremendous impact on engineering education through the Grand Challenges Scholars Program,” said NAE President John L. Anderson. “This groundbreaking program has changed the way students approach learning about engineering and its value to society. Without the vision, hard work, and dedication of these educators the GCSP would not have had the impact it has on the way we educate our students.” 

Since its launch, the GCSP has spread to more than 90 engineering schools across the country, as well as several prominent international programs. In addition to the engineering requirements for their degree, students who complete the program create a portfolio with five components:

  • Hands-on research or project related to one of the Grand Challenges
  • Broad general education, including behavior, economics, and policy
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Global and cultural understanding
  • Service learning and societal impact

Jenna Carpenter is the founding dean and professor of engineering at Campbell University in North Carolina and president-elect of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). An expert on issues impacting the success of women in STEM and on innovative STEM curricula, she has held numerous national leadership roles: ASEE (vice president), Women in Engineering ProActive Network (president), Mathematical Association of America (first vice president, and chair of the MAA Council on the Profession), Joint Committee on Women in the Mathematical Sciences (co-chair), National Academies Ad Hoc Committee for the Gulf Scholars Program (chair), and National Steering Committee for the Grand Challenges Scholars Program (chair).

Thomas C. Katsouleas is a professor of electrical and computer engineering and physics at the University of Connecticut, where he was also the 16th president (2019–2021). His career in higher education includes service as associate dean of the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California, dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University, and provost at the University of Virginia. It was at Duke that he launched the Grand Challenges Scholars Program in 2009 in partnership with the co-recipients of this prize.

Richard K. Miller was appointed president and first employee of Olin College of Engineering in 1999; in June 2020 he became president emeritus and professor of mechanical engineering. He then served as the Jerome C. Hunsaker Visiting Professor of Aerospace Systems at MIT (2020–2021). Previously, he was dean of engineering at the University of Iowa, associate dean of engineering at USC, and assistant professor of engineering at UC Santa Barbara. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and National Academy of Inventors, and a member of the NAE (2012). He has received the 2017 Brock International Prize in Education, the NAE’s 2013 Bernard M. Gordon Prize (together with two Olin colleagues), and the 2011 Marlowe Award from the American Society for Engineering Education.

Yannis C. Yortsos is dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, the Zohrab Kaprielian Dean’s Chair in Engineering, and the Chester Dolley Professor. He previously chaired the department of chemical engineering and was associate dean of engineering and then senior associate dean of engineering for academic affairs. As dean, he articulated in 2008 the concept of Engineering+, positioning engineering as the enabling discipline of our times, and he has been actively engaged in the effort to “change the conversation about engineering.” He is a member of the NAE (2008), an associate member of the Academy of Athens (2013), and a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor (2014). In 2017, he received on behalf of USC Viterbi the ASEE President’s Award recognizing outstanding leadership in engineering diversity.

 The Gordon Prize was established in 2001 as a biennial prize acknowledging new modalities and experiments in education that develop effective engineering leaders. Recognizing the potential to spur a revolution in engineering education, NAE announced in 2003 that the prize would be awarded annually.


Founded in 1964, the U.S. National Academy of Engineering is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation. Its mission is to advance the welfare and prosperity of the nation by providing independent advice on matters involving engineering and technology, and by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and public appreciation of engineering.

Deborah M. Young
Contact Deborah M. Young
Program Officer, Awards Program
National Academy of Engineering
NAE awards GCSP