Last year in Albuquerque, Mohamed Ebeida, a computer scientist at Sandia National Laboratories, began teaching a group of local Muslim students (ages six to 14) the basics of computer programming and robotics.
“These kids, most of the ideas coming from them are out of the box,” quips Mr. Ebeid. “They don’t even have a box.” But by July, two teams of students were competing at an international competition called the FIRST LEGO League Mountain State Invitational against older and more experienced teams. And yes, there was success – one of the teams won the Inspiration Core Value award for their teamwork.
Team leader Safa Kassem, 14, only has good things to say about the experience.
“We’re here to inspire kids, and especially Muslim kids, that they can do whatever they wish.” Mr. Ebeida teaches the robotic class at the Islamic Center of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and says he hopes to continue to expand the program which is open to everyone.