Oakland Tech Graduate Ahmed Muhammad Unites Thousands in the Community in the Name of Science

Ahmed Muhammad, 20, at his 2nd Annual KitsCubed STEM Fair on Saturday, September 17, 2022 held at his alma mater Oakland Technical High School in Oakland, CA.

With the sun beating down on the campus of Oakland Technical High School on Saturday, it was a warm and inviting atmosphere to learn, be inspired and open young minds to the wonders of science. Stanford University’s Ahmed Muhammad gathered thousands of members of his community to his alma mater for his nonprofit’s second annual STEM fair.

Thousands of people flock to KitsCubed 2nd Annual STEM Fair at Oakland Technical High School on Saturday, September 17, 2022.

KitsCubed distributed 1,000 specially designed science kits for the event.

California Life Sciences was the presenting sponsor of KitsCubed 2nd Annual STEM Fair which drew over 2,000 people to the Oakland Technical High School campus on Saturday, September 17, 2022.

The show, presented in partnership with title sponsor California Life Sciencesattracted kids (and their parents) eager to participate in hands-on experiments, witness chemical reactions, test the principles of electrostatics, build things, and some even got to pet a ball python.

The Oakland Zoo let kids learn about its ball python as part of KitsCubed’s 2nd Annual STEM Fair on Saturday, September 17, 2022 in Oakland, Calif.

They were learning while having fun.

Kids got to participate in hands-on science experiments as part of KitsCubed’s 2nd Annual STEM Fair on Saturday, September 17, 2022 at Oakland Technical High School in Oakland, CA.

And for Muhammad and his KitsCubed team, it was mission accomplished. The nonprofit, which started in 2020 in the garage of a then 17-year-old high school student, started with the goal of making science engaging, fun and affordable for kids, while bridging a gap in communities where young students do not have access. to practical science learning.

To that end, KitsCubed has since distributed thousands of free science kits to students in the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD).

The nonprofit has also held free science summer camps, and last month the group took it to the next level and traveled to classrooms around the city for what it called a “STEM Month”.

KitsCubed’s young leaders gave live science demonstrations and worked with elementary school students to spark a love for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning.

And it appeared that KitsCubed had caught the interest of many of these young students.

“My favorite part was seeing so many excited kids that Kits Cubed and I taught during our last STEM Month initiative,” Muhammad shared with KTVU, adding, “We were going to schools and teaching sciences to, in total, almost 2,500 students. And on Saturday, a lot of our students were so excited to come to the STEM fair.”

The student said the feedback he received from parents as well as other members of the community was overwhelmingly positive and encouraging. The kids’ reactions only reinforced what KitsCubed was.

“Students tell me they’ve gone from hating science, to loving science, to wanting to be scientists, and they’re asking me and Kits Cubed to come back regularly to teach science and to teach in their after-school programs as well. They tell us that we make science fun,” Muhammad said.

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KTVU followed Muhammad’s journey shortly after launching KitsCubed, including covering it when he became Oakland Tech’s first black male valedictorian when he graduated last year.

In one of our first interviews with him, he emphasized how closely his success was tied to his community and how much he believed in giving back to uplift the young people who followed him, just as he been empowered and inspired by the young role models who came before him.

While Saturday’s fair was one designed for Oakland elementary school children, there was also strong evidence that Muhammad’s work had a ripple effect on the city’s older children. There was a palpable presence created by the dozens of teens from across Oakland who volunteered to help on Saturday.

Some 40 teens volunteered to help KitsCubed 2nd Annual STEM Fair at Oakland Technical High School in Oakland, Calif. on Saturday, September 17, 2022.

From setting up and registering the children and their families, to distributing food and of course leading the science demonstrations, the young people organized the event.

KitsCubed, which has also had a mission to be a youth-led organization, has clearly achieved that goal as well, inspiring teens across the city to be part of a movement to help educate young children and boost their scientific imagination. .

The STEM fair was the culmination of summer events hosted by Muhammad and his organization, which just marked its 20th anniversary on Saturday.

The youngster planned to return to Stanford on Thursday to focus on school where he finished his freshman year with a 4.05 grade point average.

And when he returns to school, he will do so knowing that his impact and influence on his community was ongoing, reaching not only the youngest students, but providing older students with a role model to give back and make a difference.

The fair, he said, further fueled him in the work he and his team were doing. He said it was a nice thing to see when he watched the crowd.

“I was impressed by the hundreds of young scientists talking about their latest findings and their newfound love for science,” Muhammad said. “It showed me that we are doing something right with our Kits Cubed programming, and provided extra motivation to keep doing great work until every child has a chance to be inspired by science. “

Thousands of people flock to KitsCubed 2nd Annual STEM Fair at Oakland Technical High School on Saturday, September 17, 2022.

Oakland kids got out and participated in hands-on science experiments as part of KitsCubed 2nd Annual STEM Fair at Oakland Technical High School in Oakland, Calif. on Saturday, September 17, 2022.

1,000 free science kits were given away as part of KitsCubed 2nd Annual STEM Fair at Oakland Technical High School in Oakland, CA on Saturday, September 17, 2022.

1,000 specially assembled science kits were given away as part of KitsCubed’s 2nd Annual STEM Fair on Saturday, September 17, 2022 in Oakland, CA.

Sam D. Gomez