Mohammed was born in the forest region of Guinea, a region wedged in between Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Liberia, where his parents sought refuge for about sixteen years from war-torn Liberia. He moved with his family to the United States in March of 2007 on a refugee resettlement program sponsored by the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.
Mohammed saw his family’s move as an opportunity to get an education and work towards his dreams. He has a strong belief in education as a medium to bridge gaps and contribute to the broader community, locally and globally. With immigrant parents who knew little about the American education system, he was forced to become the architect of his own education, his future. While attending 8th grade in a public school, teachers recognized his potential and encouraged him to apply to The Episcopal Academy, one of the elite high schools in the region. Seeing this as a chance for him to broaden his future, Mohammed was quick to seize the opportunity. He was offered a full scholarship based on merit and financial need to attend the Academy.
In his four years at Episcopal, Mohammed has made the most out of every opportunity presented to him. Since freshman year, he has been actively involved in many aspects of school life from academics, athletics, and student government to mentoring programs. His contributions and commitment to his school community were highlighted when he was honored with the Esse Quam Videri (to be, rather than to seem) leadership award, an honor given to less than ten percent of the rising senior class, to students who in the eyes of their peers, faculty and administrators exhibit qualities of integrity, respect, and leadership.
Additionally, Mohammed has shown genuine interest in the scientific process and has actively sought opportunities to broaden his experience. During his freshman and sophomore years he won first place awards for independent research projects at state level competitions. He conducted research at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine focused on finding ways to prevent and possibly cure genetic defects that lead to blindness. The summer of his junior year, he participated in MIT’s Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science program where he gained new perspectives in genomics. At the completion of this program, he received the highest award the program offers to a male participant with the overall outstanding performance, proven leadership and willingness to assist others. To keep up with his work in this growing and versatile field, Mohammed will be spending nine weeks this summer as a research intern at The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, a program sponsored by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).
Mohammed draws inspiration from his journey, and the many sacrifices that his family made as they surmounted challenges of refugee life in Guinea. He is optimistic for what the future holds and is cognizant of the fact that he will need to keep working hard to achieve the success that he envisions.