Months after starting nonprofit to make science fun for kids, this teen just got accepted to dream school Stanford

Mildred Europa Taylor December 31, 2020
Ahmed Muhammad wants science kits in hands of all kids in his city. (Photo courtesy Ahmed Muhammad)

Ahmed Muhammad and his siblings got all the kind of support they could from their parents to succeed academically. Their parents themselves did not attend college, however. Muhammad’s father is a retired captain who spent 30 years with the Oakland Fire Department while his mother immigrated from Cambodia. The two started a real estate business together while teaching their children hard work and determination.

That has paid off, as Muhammad is not only excelling academically — a math and science whiz who has taken nine college classes on top of his high school work — but he is also doing well on the basketball court for his school’s varsity basketball team. What’s more, during the pandemic, he founded the non-profit Kits Cubed (now a company), which offers science experiment kits to grade school-aged students.

And just last week, the 17-year-old California native got accepted into his dream school, Stanford University. He will become a first-generation college student. Muhammad got into his first choice Stanford as part of its restrictive early action option, KTVU reported, adding that the university would cover his tuition costs. The teen got in with a 4.7 GPA and an SAT score of 1540, “receiving a perfect 800 in the Math section and a 740 in the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section,” the report said.

“I’m beyond excited,” said the Oakland Technical High School senior, who had taken the college entrance exams his sophomore year and also received high scores in the SAT’s subject tests.

Muhammad highlighted his work with Kits Cubed as part of his personal statement for his Stanford application, saying that he founded the nonprofit to discourage young people, particularly those from underserved communities, from thinking that they can’t be scientists.

The teen’s aim, therefore, is to get his learning kits in the hands of every young scientist in Oakland. He had founded Kits Cubed while babysitting his younger niece and nephew during the pandemic. Muhammad once asked them to work on some science projects but they refused, saying they were not good at the subject. At that moment, Muhammad decided to use simple science experiments to prove them wrong.

“We went to the store together and I had them pick out potatoes, and then I went to the hardware store to buy some copper nails, some galvanized nails and some wire and we made a battery out of it,” he told CNN.

Muhammad was able to convince them that they were not bad at science. He then decided to share that with the community. That gave birth to Kits Cubed. With the help of his teachers, Muhammad designed science kits geared toward elementary school students. Following media reports, scores of organizations and individuals, including former NFL star and Oakland Tech alumnus Marshawn Lynch, contacted Muhammad to offer their support. Then came a partnership with Oakland based non-profit Seneca Family of Agencies, which provided Muhammad with tools to expand as well as office space.

Today, Kits Cubed is an official company which has also started working in partnership with the National Society of Black Engineers to create a virtual science program for kids. So far, Muhammad has distributed hundreds of his kits to schools around Oakland. The kits are also available for online purchase for $15. Each includes three experiments, hence the name Kits Cubed.

“I want kids to know that science is all around us, it doesn’t need to be in a super fancy lab, with millions of dollars of equipment,” said Muhammad. “It can be with the battery that you find in your smoke detector, or in the leaves of the trees outside, or in a potato.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: December 31, 2020


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates