KGSP Alumni at the 2024 Convocation


The KGSP hosted its annual Convocation in January, an academic symposium created to foster current student relations and collaboration with KAUST faculty and research programs. This year’s Convocation was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and saw over 400 current KGSP students in attendance, in addition to approximately 50 KAUST faculty and KGSP staff. For the second year in a row, KGSP alumni were invited as representatives of the broader KGSP community, and to highlight the KGSP’s impact through the achievements of its former students.

Image 1: From left to right, KGSP Alumni Lead Matthew Guckenberg, Ali Alrashoudi, Ahmed Alsaggaf, Renad Bougis, and Kumail Al Hamoud.

At Convocation, four KGSP alumni participated in a panel discussion titled, “KGSP Impact.” Ali Alrashoudi graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 2016. He received an M.S. in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from KAUST in 2019, where he is currently a PhD candidate in Electrical and Electronics Engineering. Ali works as Digital Design Engineer at the National Company of Telecommunications and Information Security (NTiS). Renad Bougis graduated from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2020 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. In 2021, she obtained her M.S. from KAUST in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Renad currently works as a Carbon Accounting Lead at NEOM. Ahmed Alsaggaf graduated the University of California, San Diego with a B.S. in Biology in 2020. He later received his M.S. in Marine Science KAUST in 2021 and is now continuing his studies at KAUST, pursuing a PhD in Marine Science. Kumail Al Hamoud obtained his B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Cornell University in 2021. He graduated from KAUST with an M.S. in Computer Science in 2023 and is now a PhD candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he contributes to MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).

Image 2: KGSP alum Ali Alrashoudi speaking at the 2024 Convocation in Philadelphia, PA.

On the importance of alumni presence at Convocation, Ali Alrashoudi said, “As a KGSP alum, I know how confusing the future can be for fresh graduates. As daunting as it was, communicating with my seniors was always of great benefit to me at all stages of my path. I wanted to make sure the younger generations know that approaching their seniors is always welcome, and we are always eager to help with all we can.” Ali and other attending alumni discussed life at KAUST and limitless possibilities available to students beyond the Program during the KGSP Impact session. Ali also moderated a session showcasing NEOM, during which alumna Renad Bougis enlightened current KGSP students on employment and internships possibilities with the giga project and answered questions from eager listeners. “A really important aspect [of Convocation] is the network,” Ali added. “The KGSP produces really effective and ambitious individuals that can enrich your network in the Saudi community. As a part of the KGSP network, you will find a variety of expertise, experiences, knowledge, backgrounds, jobs, and paths you have access to. That is the single most invaluable currency in the current world.”

The KGSP continues to encourage the growth of the KGSP network through the direct collaboration and engagement between current students and its alumni community. Alumni presence at Program-wide events like Convocation contribute to bridging the gaps across generations and offers students a glimpse of the possibilities of academic and career advancement that await them beyond the Program.