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Khulood Al Ali knew from an early age that she wanted to earn a degree at Carnegie Mellon University. But she didn’t foresee going for two.

The CMU master’s student and native of Saudi Arabia is following her dreams by pursuing dual degrees in biomedical engineering (BME) and engineering and technology innovation management (ETIM).

“I chose Carnegie Mellon for the challenges, motivation, and innovation—to join the next generation of leaders making the world a better place. I believe I’m in the right place, with the right people at the right time.”

Al Ali arrived at CMU and was inspired to seek a second degree. “After high school I got really interested in health care and I also have an interest in math. Pursuing a degree in biomedical engineering was the best match for my interests,” she said. “I’m so passionate about improving the life quality of others and focusing on medical device innovation.”

It was her internship with Engineering World Health where she developed her passion for working with medical devices. She spent a summer in Rwanda working with the nonprofit to repair healthcare technology in low-resourced communities.

“It was a whole summer, and it was a life-changing experience. After that I decided to pursue the ETIM degree to build the bridge between me as a skilled person and the technical field, and to build a bridge to communities in need,” Al Ali said.

Joining the ETIM program, in addition to BME, allowed her to take classes from the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy and the Tepper School of Business.

“Working with multidisciplinary groups mimics real life outside the classroom. I’ve become a team player, an effective communicator and a problem solver. And that will reflect in the work I do within the community and in professional settings,” she said

During her time at CMU, Al Ali has been involved in a number of programs including the University Leadership Student Advisory Council, a group that consulted with and provided insights to CMU leadership on the student experience. She has also participated in and volunteered with the Sit Together Project sponsored by Religious and Spiritual Life Initiatives to help develop interfaith leadership at CMU. Other volunteer projects included Rise Against Hunger, the Peace Project during Tartan Community Day, and the Graduate Student Assembly committee for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

“My experience at CMU has given me a new perspective on my future. I see my role in non-profits, medical devices innovation, and product management and my experience here aligning with my passion and determination. My dream is to build a connection between the East and the West and become a female leader in my field. And if your dreams don’t terrify you they are not big enough,” she said.