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Student Spotlight: Lama Bahanan

Lama Bahanan, a junior at the Georgia Institute of Technology majoring in Biomedical Engineering, participated in the Siemens Heathineers Innovation Think Tank (ITT) Certification Program held virtually at Georgia Institute of Technology for students from Emory University, Khalifa University, University of Toronto, and McMaster University. Over three days in December 2020, participants received interactive training on the innovation Think Tank methodology and gained hands on project experience in the form of an event competition, all designed to foster innovative and customer-centric solutions to healthcare challenges. The Innovation Think Tank method, an interdisciplinary standard of best practices for innovation, has been implemented in prestigious universities, research labs, and hospitals around the globe, such as Oxford University Hospitals and the Innovation Research Lab at Fredrich–Alexander University in Germany. The competition of the program focused on creating new experiential innovations in current healthcare practice and management.  Lama and her team earned 2nd Place for their project entitled Incorporating Wearables Into Affordable, Advanced Healthcare Strategies. Winners received a program certificate and the potential to be accepted into the Innovation Think Tank Fellowship program.

With a passion for improving healthcare services, Lama knew that this would be a worthwhile opportunity that fit perfectly with her career and personal interests. Even with a busy semester of coursework, Lama ensured she made time to apply for the competition because she believes that for students "it is very important to keep and eye out for different opportunities that can provide us with professional experience and broaden our horizon."

Throughout the program, Lama benefited from the expertise of leaders in health management and clinicians from Emory University and Johns Hopkins University, who provided targeted insight during training sessions from feedback during her team's project presentation. Lama considers the feedback as one of her "most valuable learning experiences" of the program, saying that, "you can always research problems in the healthcare industry but it's a totally different experience when get to hear, discuss ideas, and receive feedback from key leaders."

During the program, Lama worked alongside—and competed with—doctoral and master's level students, which encouraged her determination to distinguish herself and expand her professional network. Lama's academic ambition echoes the values that the KGSP strives to cultivate in its students by creating opportunities to participate in these types of programs that help prepare them for a successful academic and professional career. These opportunities lay the framework for Lama and other KGSP students to advance the scientific knowledge of our society, learning from leading figures in their industries and fields, and applying those lessons to their own academic pursuits and careers.

KGSP students represent the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s future scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and thought-leaders. As both individuals and as a community, they reflect the KAUST mission of driving scientific discovery through excellence in education and cutting-edge research, and share a commitment to fostering innovation, economic development, and social prosperity throughout the Kingdom and the world.  


Selection to the KGSP is extremely competitive, and currently by invitation only. Successful applicants are Saudi Arabian students in their final year of high school who demonstrate impressive academic credentials within STEM fields, meaningful extra-curricular achievements, and who share the KAUST ethos of continuous discovery.  Learn more here.


The KGSP is administered by the Office of Strategic National Advancement at KAUST, under the direction of Vice President & Senior Associate to the President, Dr. Najah Ashry. Strategic National Advancement directs the university's strategy to serve Saudi Arabia's transformational priorities: Through initiatives in young talent and Saudi workforce development, social responsibility, and national engagement, the Office contributes to a thriving innovation ecosystem by building knowledge capacity, creating opportunities, and strengthening impact.