Irvine, Texas high school freshman Ahmed Mohamed started his week with dreams of becoming an engineer and a passion for robotics, tinkering, and making projects. But one project went wrong when his school called police thinking his most recent project, a digital clock, was a bomb or fake bomb.
Experimentation with engineering should be encouraged among students, not feared, and I hope Ahmed is not discouraged from further making and a career in engineering. Creativity and passion for creating in an important field like engineering is an exemplary trait for America’s youth, and teachers should be supportive and foster that creativity and drive.
Though his school wasn’t supportive of his project, the maker and engineering communities and the community at large – from President Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to astronaut Chris Hadfield and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to others passionate about science – have showered him with support on social media under the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed. He’s been invited to Maker events, hacking and maker communities, science shows, the White House, Google, Facebook, and more.
This kind of widespread support from the community is what I hope Ahmed remembers, and that he can quickly settle back into his daily life of a maker making good things.