National Geographic names Oakland's Ahmed Muhammad among select group of youth changemakers worldwide

Oakland Technical High School graduate and now Stanford University freshman Ahmed Muhammad has been selected by the National Geographic Society to join its cohort of 2021 Young Explorers. 

A teen from Oakland, who has received national attention for his achievements both in the classroom and in his community, was now being recognized as one of 25 young people around the world inspiring global change.

Oakland Technical High School graduate Ahmed Muhammad, who's now in his first year at Stanford University, was selected as part of the National Geographic Society’s 2021 Young Explorers cohort. Those receiving the recognition were described as "audacious" leaders, fearless, committed, innovative, and impact-driven, who were challenging the status quo, as they worked "to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world."

National Geographic Society has selected Oakland's Ahmed Muhammad among 25 young change-makers worldwide as part of its Young Explorers program.  (Ahmed Muhammad/National Geographic )

Muhammad and the other two dozen Young Explorers represented 19 different countries from here in the U.S. to Brazil, Argentina, Nigeria, Tunisia, the Philippines, New Zealand and other parts of the globe. 


The recipients were diverse in their interests and projects which included educating their communities about plastics, developing apps to help reduce carbon footprints, and using storytelling to empower other young people to take environmental action. But the common threat, according to the National Geographic Society, was that they were all united in their collective objective to build a sustainable and thriving planet. 

"... they’re working along other young trailblazers to take a stand on the most pressing issues of our time through lasting solutions that aid local communities -- and change the world," the non-profit scientific and educational organization said as it announced its 2021 Young Explorers. 

Ahmed Muhammad, who founded science education company Kits Cubed, was recognized by the National Geographic Society as a 2021 Young Explorer. (Ahmed Muhammad )

Muhammad was recognized as trailblazer and change-maker for his work through Kits Cubed, the science education company he founded out of his garage in April 2020. Through his non-profit, he’s been a champion for equity in education, distributing thousands of free science kits to young students in Oakland.

The 19-year-old has also received widespread attention for being the first Black male valedictorian in Oakland Tech’s 106-year history. During his valedictorian speech at Tech's graduation in May, he highlighted that troubling fact, as he called for more action and change. 

"There's absolutely no way you can tell me that I'm the first Black person [male] capable of being valedictorian... Not even close," he said as he challenged the graduating class to do its part to elevate those who came after. "We owe it to them to make sure that while I may be the school's first young Black man to make it as our school's valedictorian, I won't be the last," Muhammad said.

SEE ALSO: No stopping this year's Oakland Tech valedictorian as he holds free summer science camp

While juggling life as a college student at Stanford, the teen has expanded his work with Kits Cubed. The non-profit has strengthened its partnership with the Oakland Unified School District, working to create curriculum-specific science kits as part of a new pilot program. Kits Cubed was also expanding its reach in the Bay Area to provide its kits to hundreds of students in East Palo Alto. 

Being recognized by National Geographic will help the teen continue in his goal to make science fun, affordable, and accessible to all kids. As part of the Young Explorers program, Muhammad and the other recipients of the prestigious title will receive funding "so they can expand upon their profound work," the organization said. 

Oakland teen Ahmed Muhammad founded science education company Kits Cubed. (Ahmed Muhammad/Kits Cubed)

Through the work he started in his hometown of Oakland and now from his college campus at Stanford, the teen has received worldwide recognition for demonstrating time and again that he’s not willing to settle with the status quo and that in order to bring about change, audacious, barrier-breaking, transformative actions must be taken.  

As he accepted the recognition, Muhammad shared, "Strong youth leaders embrace going against the grain, and in doing so, create new openings to pathways that were once thought to have been at a dead-end."

To learn more about Muhammad and his work, as well as the other 2021 Young Explorers, click here