Today’s grand challenges – making solar energy economical, reverse engineering the brain, securing cyberspace, restoring urban infrastructure, providing access to clean water – will not be solved by one discipline alone. To find solutions, scientists and engineers from different disciplines must effectively communicate with one another as well as other professionals and the public to stimulate discovery, innovation, complex system integration, community acceptance and implementation.
Collectively, we are more dependent than ever on the expertise of technical experts and policy makers. However, effectiveness in their fields is based on what they can do with what they know, not just on what they know.
The Graduate Portfolio in Science and Engineering Professional Development provides an opportunity for students to focus on non-technical skills. Skills gained are transferable across multiple careers and disciplines, and sought after by a variety of employers. Students who develop interpersonal competencies to improve performance and facilitate productive interaction will be better equipped to work with others and to solve society’s grand challenges.