The first black male freshman to graduate from his Oakland high school, he has completed his freshman year of college. The scholar brings back to his hometown a top GPA from one of the top 10 schools in the country.
Oakland native Ahmed Muhammad, the young man who made national headlines after becoming the first African American to graduate from Oakland Technical High School, has completed his first two semesters at Stanford University.
The 19-year-old finished his freshman year at the country’s sixth-best college with a 4.05 GPA and credits his high school with preparing him for such a milestone.
“My classes at Stanford weren’t all that different in terms of my approach to what my teachers asked of me in high school,” he told KTVU.
Some of the differences he encountered were typical of new colleges: much larger classes and lots of new distractions that he didn’t have in high school, he said these are “lots of opportunities to have fun that aren’t necessarily productive .”
However, Muhammad said he drew on the skills he learned while studying in high school to focus on the right path, lessons he never thought he would need.
He said, “I didn’t understand why they expected so much in high school, why they were hard on me, but now when I get into college I apply directly what they taught me.”
Keys to his success were the academic foundation he built in high school classes like calculus and advanced placement physics, and the humility to ask his professors for help when he was struggling in a subject. He also noted that the number one key to a great first year was simply “having the discipline to sit down and actually study and edit the material.”
He added: “My teachers would also emphasize to me that it’s not about the grade, it’s about commitment to the class. Not to shoot notes, but to understand the material, and the note follows.”
The aspiring sophomore says he’ll narrow down his major next year and leans toward majoring in either: computer science or electrical engineering with a minor in mechanical design.
In addition to being a great student, he is also an influential businessman who runs a non-profit organization called Kits Cubed, which aims to bring hands-on science experiences to children through affordable and accessible kits that the boys can use on a daily basis based on things that they would like to see in their everyday life.
He founded the organization after his niece and nephew told him they were “bad” at science.
His hope was to change their understanding of the discipline through fun encounters with study.
“I think Amir is like 6 or 7 and Ilah I think she just made 9,” he recalled. “Whenever I babysit them, we do things like play chess, play video games, read books or watch TV or whatever.
When I tried to do science with them, they said, ‘No, I hate science. IM bad at it.’ I went to my room and pulled out some science books. Then I went online and did some research and was able to design some science experiments that they could do at home. The materials were just stuff we have around the house and they loved it,” said Muhammad.
After seeing how easily they embraced the project, he realized he could flow into other kids and ignite something magical about science in them.
“At first I thought I just wanted to get it out to as many kids in Oakland as possible,” Muhammad said.
Muhammad is creating a pilot program that he is pushing to bring to Oakland public schools.
By integrating his program into the Oakland Unified School District’s science curriculum through the Full Option Science System curriculum used in public schools across the country, he seeks to achieve his dream of bringing science to children of all races, ages and economic sectors to make digestible backgrounds.
Muhammad says that if his vision comes true, “children can actually take the material home and expand on the material that their teachers have taught them. It’s based on the same philosophy for children to explore the things they know and are comfortable with, to show that science is everywhere.”
He has new ideas that he believes will expand the mission of the program he founded in 2020 and is working to continue last year’s inaugural event, a late-summer science fair over Labor Day weekend.
In addition to the big activation and trying to find ways to get more kits to more students, the 2021 National Geographic Society Young Explorer cohort member is collaborating with an Oakland-based community group called the Fam 1st Family Foundation, which is run by NFL stars and Oakland Tech football stars Marshawn Lynch and Joshua Johnson. It’s offering another summer of free science camps at the West Oakland Youth Center.
The young man did not expect that over the past ten months he would be so busy with school and delegating responsibilities to other young people in his community to keep his business afloat.
“College was a lot,” Muhammad added, “I totally underestimated how much work college would be.”
And this summer, he’s adding new paying positions and is looking for teenagers and young adults, ages 16-24, to work for him in the following departments: kit development, public relations, marketing, and graphic design.
He posted a job posting on Instagram with the caption: “Interested in creating scholarly opportunities for young students both inside and outside your community? Do you want to grow by building invaluable leadership, design and collaboration skills that also directly impact our communities? Would you like to make a difference? Then we have the perfect opportunity for you!”
Muhammad sees himself as agents of revitalization in his community and sees his peer constituencies as the leaders of this movement. He said: “It’s all youth-led to strengthen our community.
“Kits Cubed is a lot taller than me,” said the scholar-mogul. “Even though I’m growing in college, I want Kits Cubed to grow.”
As if that wasn’t enough, Muhammad says he’s looking for a summer internship for himself.
https://atlantablackstar.com/2022/06/28/oakland-teen-earns-4-05-gpa-during-first-year-at-stanford-university-credits-his-school-for-giving-him-the-tools-to-succeed/ Oakland teen who went viral after starting a kids science education business earns 4.05 GPA freshman year at Stanford University and is creating a pilot program to integrate his science kits into public schools