2023 Summer Enrichment Activities
During the summer of 2023, over 250 KGSP students completed enrichment activities including internships, research, and fellowships to build skills in a diverse range of experiences. Through partnerships with academic, corporate, and research institutions, the KGSP facilitates and supports student development in hands-on enrichment experiences in a variety of sectors. The Program’s Advising and Enrichment teams work year-long to identify summer enrichment opportunities that match student interests and academic and career goals, as well as to support their applications. Below are some of the enrichment activities students engaged in during summer 2023.
Image 1: KSIP Research Fair held at KAUST.
More than 80 KGSP students completed STEM research placements under the supervision of faculty at their home university or another research institution this summer. Of those, 31 juniors and 3 sophomores participated in the KGSP’s KAUST Summer Internship Program (KSIP) researching under the mentorship of distinguished faculty at KAUST’s state-of-the-art research facilities. While at KAUST, Layan Kazem, a senior at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute majoring in Biomedical Engineering, focused on enhancing the design of an implant for femoral neck fractures. “Beyond the academic insights gained, the daily immersion in the laboratory environment and interactions with fellow researchers have been truly enriching,” Layan said. “This experience has not only expanded my understanding but has also opened doors for potential future academic pursuits at KAUST.”
Research placements provide the opportunity to gain practical, hands-on experience, as well as to introduce students to collaborative spaces in the scientific world. Eight students were selected to join Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs at various institutions across the U.S. including Carnegie Mellon University, Northeastern University, and University of California, San Diego. These competitive placements provide students with direct involvement in transformative research, sometimes resulting in their contribution to papers that go on to be published in national or international scientific journals. Besides the KSIP and REU placements, an additional 35 students worked with faculty at their home universities on research projects based on their interests. Abdullah Alhussain, a junior at the University of California, Irvine majoring in Mechanical Engineering, worked as the only undergraduate student in Professor William Bowman’s lab, focusing on energy storage systems and performing electrochemical testing on super capacitors, a topic Abdullah explored a year prior at his home university.
Image 2: Iliyas Alabdulaal, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Computer Science
Nearly 60 KGSP students participated in internships at 40 different host companies spanning various industries and types of enterprises such as Fortune 500 corporations and start-up entities. Iliyas Alabdulaal, a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Computer Science, was one of twelve KGSP students who interned at one of Aramco Services Company’s U.S. locations. As an intern, Iliyas worked on the front-end and back-end development of an app and built it from the ground up. “It made me self-learn a tech stack that I have never used before but is used very heavily in the industry (React, Node.js, and Django), so I am thrilled that I learned and applied them because I would like to work on similar software systems as a career,” Iliyas said of his experience. “Learning to interpret and implement my mentors' vision for the app was a great lesson about the importance of communication and flexibility in software development.”
Fellowships and Award Programs
Image 3: On the far right, KGSP student Basil Habiballah presenting with his Track teammates at the Camp 2030 Summit.
34 KGSP students were accepted to nationally or internationally selective leadership and awards programs including the Qimam Fellowship, the MiSK Fellowship Program, and Camp 2030. Norah Alsharif, a Sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Mechanical Engineering, was accepted to participate in Unite 2030’s annual Camp 2030 Summit, where she worked on the “Quality Education” Track. “Camp 2030 allowed me to continue working on my goal of making quality education accessible to refugees in camps,” Norah said. “I started this journey after my team won the NEOM Global Summit in 2021, but Camp 2030 was my first chance to keep developing this idea.”
KGSP Peer Support Guides
Image 4: KGSP’s Peer Support Guides leading an interactive ice-breaker session at Pre-Departure Orientation.
A dozen students were also selected to serve as KGSP Peer Support Guides (PSGs) over the summer, a leadership role within the KGSP community. After completing a Peer Mentor Certification course that introduces critical mentoring skills to new peer leaders, PSGs act as program ambassadors mentoring the incoming cohort of Foundation Year and Undergraduate students. At the summer Pre-Departure Orientation held on KAUST’s campus to welcome the new cohort of students, PSGs assisted with event content, including creating interactive sessions that fostered connections with their fellow peers and KGSP staff. Throughout the academic year, Guides keep in contact with their assigned mentees, offering advice and sharing personal experiences as the new students settle into their home universities. The PSGs develop leadership, communication, and networking skills throughout their tenure as program ambassadors.
As a central component of the KGSP, enrichment activities provide students with the chance to experience the hands-on application of their preferred fields in industry or laboratories as well as to gain new skills, professional networks, and develop as young leaders. The Program supports enrichment activity as these opportunities contribute to students’ academic goals and lay the foundation for their futures in STEM careers and their journeys to becoming leaders in Saudi Arabia and in the world.