Elijah Muhammad has succeeded at becoming the youngest student at Oklahoma City Community College to walk the stage as a college graduate at just 13 years old.
Collegiate certified prodigy, Elijah Muhammad Jr., is currently a junior forensics cybersecurity major at Oklahoma State University and has just graduated from OCCC with an associates degree in computer science, specializing in cybersecurity. He began his collegiate journey during his junior year of high school at just 12 years old, in which he participated in dual-enrollment at OCCC. In addition to attending and graduating from OCCC, Muhammad Jr. completed hours at Langston University to obtain his associate degree and is currently taking classes at OSU.
The young graduate has managed to achieve a number of different awards and certifications such as his degree in computer science: cybersecurity, 10 IBM certifications, one Google IT certification and four mastery certificates in computer science from OCCC. Although he has contributed countless hours toward achieving such merits, what is tireless work for most is a passion and an addiction for the pursuit of knowledge for Muhammad Jr.
“I love learning things, whenever I can learn something I really want to learn it,” Muhammad said. “So, anytime I get the chance to learn something I’m on it and that’s one of the things that has really helped me throughout my college journey as well.”
The 13 year old is not the only admirable example in his family, as he has three other siblings that have graduated college at the ages of 15, 19 and 21 years old plus another sibling who is doing early enlistment into the army at age 17. Father of the five, who is also known as Elijah Muhammad, is grateful his children have a deeper understanding of the importance of education.
“I know with the African American community you see a lot of sports and entertainment that gets highlighted, so I’m glad that they get to be ambassadors for education on a bigger stage,” Muhammad Sr. said. “Visibility is important, so it’s really important to me that they have the opportunity to show that it can be done,”
With both parents heavily involved in the collegiate education system, they had an understanding they would set the bar high for their children and celebrate good grades and educational success as if it were a sport.
“They also have competed in sports, but primarily we were creating that culture and environment to do well academically” Muhammad Sr. said. “We were intentional about putting them in the right schools and in the right neighborhoods.”
Stressing the importance of education from early childhood has made it possible for Muhammad Jr. to succeed in his education, but just like any other 13 year old, he spends just as much time with his friends. He mentioned that finding time to participate in fun activities outside of school work is very doable when you put the work in first.
“I go outside, ride bikes, play basketball, go swimming, I do a lot of fun activities,” the 13-year-old said. “One of my dad’s mottos has been ‘you work hard, you play hard’ so as much work as I do I play the same amount.”
When he’s not passing the time competing in one of his favorite leisure activities, playing Call of Duty, Muhammad Jr. is planning his future and setting goals he plans to achieve sooner rather than later. In addition to his educational aspirations, he plans on launching his own clothing brand, Smart Boy, by the end of summer and wants to start a pin-testing company that keeps users safe from hackers when browsing the internet.
Young Muhammad Jr. hopes to inspire other students and kids his age to go after what they want to accomplish head on.
“You can do anything you set your mind to,” Muhammad Jr. said. “That’s one of the things that I hold really close to me because my dad taught me at a really young age that if I set my mind to it then I can do it. So, if I want to finish the semester with a 4.0 GPA then I’m able to do that as long as I put in the work that’s needed to reach my goal. To other students, if you want to win a state championship, if you want to have good grades, you can do it as long as you set your mind to it. Do the work that it takes to get there,”