2022 Summer Enrichment Activities
During summer 2022, over 300 KGSP students completed a summer enrichment activity, such as an industry internship, a research placement, or a specialized skill-building program. The KGSP leverages its relationships with academic, corporate, and research institutions to offer KGSP students valuable experiences to develop and apply their skills outside the classroom. In addition, the KGSP Enrichment and Advising teams support students in their search for enrichment opportunities by providing individualized advising, as well as resume and interview coaching to support each student’s academic and professional development goals.
This year, the KGSP saw a significant increase in the number of students participating in industrial internships and Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs, as well as an increase in the number of students who completed a summer placement on the KAUST campus. In addition, the KGSP Enrichment team worked with key institutional partners to develop new custom programming for first- and second-year students to participate in research or industry-adjacent programs. These summer experiences allow students to gain specialized skills and explore their individual interests and professional goals. Below are just a few of the exciting opportunities students participated in during the summer.
In summer 2022, 28 KGSP students participated in internships at 20 different host companies, including Fortune 500 and other corporations. Four of those students interned at Aramco Services Company, including Mustafa Almutawa, a senior majoring in Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts. “As a computer science student, having this opportunity to work in industry enormously expanded my experience and knowledge in my field,” Mustafa says. “As I returned to my undergraduate program, I felt better equipped to continue tackling challenging coursework. Moreover, I have always been interested in building software that has a meaningful and real-life impact—this internship allowed me to do just that!”
Over the summer, 44 juniors and two sophomores participated in research at KAUST’s state-of-the-art research facilities under the mentorship of its distinguished faculty, as part of the KGSP’s KAUST Summer Internship Program. At KAUST, Yasser Althuwaini, a junior at George Washington University majoring in Mechanical Engineering, worked on a Blockchain supporting low entropy battery-based authentication systems. “Everyone on the team was surprised when they learned that my major is Mechanical Engineering since the team focus was far from it,” Yasser shared. “Each team member tried to teach me a new thing about their projects, and some of them pointed out how they had to use specialized Mechanical Engineering concepts in their research and asked for my input. It was really a fun and enriching experience!”
Research experiences provide students with the opportunity to gain practical, hands-on experience, as well as deepen their understanding of the scientific method. This summer, 19 students participated in Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs in their fields of study at institutions across the US. These competitive programs have led to students co-authoring publications as well as making lasting connections with research mentors. Shaden Alshammari, a senior at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology majoring in Computer Science and Engineering, and Mathematics, participated in the Carnegie Melon Robotics Institute Summer Scholars Program. Under the mentorship of Dr. Abhinav Gupta, Shaden conducted and presented research on Using Contact Microphones for Robot Manipulation, gaining hands-on experience in the field.
Not all students traveled to find meaningful research experiences, as 40 KGSP students worked with faculty at their home universities, participating in research projects related to their own interests. Hamzah Alsalman, a freshman majoring in Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology was one such student who participated in directed research on his home campus. In his research placement, Hamzah was able to work hands-on in gathering experimental data from 4d printing, a promising new technology that he hopes will lead to advancements in cancer research.
KGSP Custom Programs:
This summer, 41 KGSP students participated in customized industry-adjacent programs and 84 students participated in customized research programs at eight different host institutions, including Arizona State University, University of California, Irvine, and the University of Texas at Austin, among others. Hamad Alrashid, a sophomore majoring in Computer Science at the University of Maryland, was accepted into a custom research program at UC Irvine where his team helped to develop software for a wireless endoscope for medical purposes, such as spine surgeries. For Hamad, this was a rich experience that helped him learn the fundamentals of research and discover how computer science can be applied to all sorts of interesting and innovative research. “One of my favorite memories in the program was presenting a demo of my data compression/transmission code after I suggested a different way of implementing the software to the Professor,” Hamad later reflected. “I learned how to employ my own programming skills to help my team succeed in the project.”
Foundation Year students also participated in customized programming at the University of Pennsylvania and ASU. The majority of Foundation Year students, as in past years, participated in matriculating Pre-Freshman programming offered by their undergraduate university.
Fellowships and Award Programs:
Seven KGSP students were also selected for prestigious summer award programs, including the MiSK Fellowship Program and the Qimam Fellowship. Manal Alshamrani, a junior at Boston University majoring in Biomedical Engineering, was one of the few students selected to participate in the Qimam Fellowship. The prestigious program is designed to provide recipients with access to and training with 200 leaders from over 25 Saudi Arabian and international companies within both the public and private sectors. “One of the most enriching experiences in Qimam was the company visits,” says Manal, who recalled starting a conversation with an employee who turned out to be a KGSP cohort 4 student. “I was delighted to meet a KGSP alumnus who ended up working in a distinguished place in Saudi Arabia!”
Enrichment opportunities are a core component of the KGSP, helping students gain rich and well-rounded experiences both inside and outside the classroom. These programs greatly contribute to KGSP students’ academic and professional growth, allowing them to apply and hone their skills and equipping them for a future career in STEM. The KGSP is committed to ensuring all students are given the chance to participate in meaningful experiences such as these to enrich their undergraduate careers.