Brown University School of Engineering

Engaged Scholars Program

Engaged Scholars Program

What is Engaged Scholarship in the School of Engineering? 

The engaged scholars program is a university-wide initiative in which students and faculty integrate teaching, research, and practice to benefit the world beyond Brown. It offers a defined process for students to augment their academic studies with projects that address major societal challenges, community outreach and public service. Participation in the program provides an opportunity for students to apply their engineering knowledge towards addressing societal issues in partnership with external organizations.

For Students:

Engaged Scholar Program (ESP)  students are part of  campus-wide interdisciplinary community that meets regularly for workshops, lectures, and other programming.  The program has both university-level requirements as well as requirements set by individual departments. 

For engineering concentrators, students in the Engaged Scholars Program are expected to complete:

1. An interdisciplinary reflection seminar, offered by the ESP and administered through the Swearer Center. 

2. An extended “practicum” (such as an internship or job ) which has demonstrable societal benefit (see ESP website for more information)

3. At least one elective course (which must be a non-ENGN and non-technical course,) that focuses on the intersection between engineering, science, and society at large.

4. An engaged capstone project.  This can often be satisfied by the Capstone Design project, taken to satisfy the regular Engineering concentration requirements.  However, to satisfy the ESP requirements, the capstone should focus on a  project that has a societal benefit and includes an "outward-facing" component - working with an external (non-classroom) partner. 

Engineering concentrators should design the ESP portion of their concentrations in collaboration with the Engineering ESP advisor.
Students apply to ESP when declaring their concentration in ASK, typically in the second semester of sophomore year. The application deadline falls in April. The application consists of two essay questions. Applications will be reviewed by the school and ESP staff. See the ESP website for more information.

For External Partners

We are looking for external partners to host internships/practicum for engaged scholars! Engineering students at Brown find the intersection of technology and society incredibly exciting. Because the study of engineering is inherently applied our students are well-suited to engage with external partners on practicum or internship projects and make real-world contributions.
Our students may come in through your regular internship program and they will then do some additional research and reflections on their work during their time with your organization on how work in this area makes a difference in the world. Nothing beyond a standard internship structure is required on the part of the company, however, the student will drive the additional research and writing to fulfill their academic requirements.

Why are external projects required?

Course work alone cannot offer the full insight into how societal issues unfold and challenges are solved outside of academia. External projects (in the form of practicum or internships) allow students to see the importance of what they are studying, and how it can be applied towards societal and global challenges.

How can companies get involved?

Companies can hire interns participating in this program, and/or mentor course projects.
Engaged scholars have passionate interest in projects with public benefits.  where there can be a mentoring benefit, and where a motivated Brown student engineering student can make tangible contributions to the organization.

More Information

 For more information on how to host a student internship or practicum, please contact Carolyn Harris, Manager of Student Affairs and Academic Programs

For more information about ESP in Engineering, please contact the faculty advisor Kenny Breuer, Professor of Engineering.

For general inquiries about the Engaged Scholars Program, please contact engaged-scholars@brown.edu.