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Global Futures Impact Scholars program launched to attract student changemakers to ASU

Inaugural cohort of 100 College of Global Futures students to receive financial investment to advance global solutions


Handful of students working together on a project at a table

One hundred students will receive up to $5,000 during their undergraduate years to work on a project or experience that aims to make global impact. ASU photo

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March 06, 2024

Many students come to Arizona State University with a goal of using their career to solve urgent challenges facing our world.

Be it designing technologies that combat climate change or improve community well-being, or crafting policies that guide ethical use of powerful technologies like generative AI, what unites these changemakers is the drive to use their college degree to make a positive impact.  

Global Futures Impact Scholars at a glance

What it is:

A program that provides $5,000 to work on a project or experience that aims to make global impact with leading ASU researchers and experts.

Who can apply:

Students who enroll in the College of Global Futures for fall 2024 as either a new first-year or transfer on-campus student.

Deadline to apply:

April 15

A new program designed by the College of Global Futures promises to empower students to start making that impact now, rather than waiting for their careers to begin.

The College of Global Futures is offering students from around the world who enroll in the college for fall 2024 as either a new first-year or transfer on-campus student the opportunity to apply to the Global Futures Impact Scholars program.

One hundred students, or “trailblazers,” as the college calls them, will receive up to $5,000 during their undergraduate years to work on a project or experience that aims to make global impact.

Students will have the opportunity to work with leading researchers and experts in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory who will act as mentors in helping them shape and bring to life their ideas.

“Students will take the lead on their own projects with the opportunity to draw on the tools and expertise of transdisciplinary research teams including graduate students and faculty,” said Miki Kittilson, vice dean of the College of Global Futures. “Beyond the seed funding, they’ll receive guidance and mentorship to propel their ideas into tangible solutions.”

Projects can address a range of issues including climate, energy, food and water security, innovation to promote sustainable development and healthy oceans — anything that contributes to a habitable planet and future in which people and communities can thrive. The only limitation is a student’s creativity.

An outstanding ranking leads to a standout idea

The Global Futures Impact Scholars program was born out of one of ASU’s No. 1 rankings. In June 2023, for the second consecutive year, ASU was named No. 1 in the U.S. and top 10 in the world for global impact by Times Higher Education for its part in addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

“To celebrate this recognition and further invest in students interested in making a difference, we partnered with Academic Enterprise Enrollment to create the Global Futures Impact Scholars program and offer more students the chance to take part in something that has the potential to be meaningful to them, their communities and the world,” Kittilson said.

The College of Global Futures is anticipating that the 100-student scholar cohort is just the beginning.

“We hope to expand the program greatly in the coming years, offering more students the ability to make their impact,” Kittilson said.

A culture of student impact

From inventing a water purifier for developing countries, creating a medical device to help babies with jaundice and building an air filtration system to help families in rural Mongolia, ASU students doing big things that make for a brighter future is nothing new.

Nancy Gonzales, ASU’s executive vice president and university provost, says it’s all part of the university’s culture of experimentation and innovation, and a deep-seated understanding that students can contribute solutions from day one.

“The best way to advance an idea is to get to work. We could have the mindset that students should passively learn about problems facing the world during their undergraduate years, send them out to fix things once they graduate and hope for the best. That is an outdated vision for what higher education should be,” Gonzales said.

“Instead, our goal is to pair students with the many experts and industry connections we have and empower them to start solving these challenges now, while they’re students," she said. "The Global Futures Impact Scholars program aims to continue this culture of student impact, only at a greater scale.”

Becoming a Global Futures Impact Scholar

Students interested in becoming a Global Futures Impact Scholar need to apply and be admitted to ASU in a College of Global Futures major for the fall 2024 semester. They can apply concurrently for the scholarship program by submitting a one-minute video or 100-word application summarizing how they plan to make their impact. 

“Ideas do not need to be fully formed in order for students to apply,” Kittlison said. “We do not expect incoming students to have perfected their project. They will work with peers and mentors to hone their knowledge over the course of the program. We encourage any student with a passion for improving the state of the world to apply.”

The deadline to submit the application is April 15. Students who are chosen will spend their first year meeting regularly with their mentor, and taking classes, seminars and workshops to refine their ideas. In their second year, work on their projects begins in earnest, and they will spend the next three years fulfilling their vision and showcasing their work.

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