The power of positivity

Mohammed al Abdullah is changing the world through kindness.

If positivity, gratitude and love for Kansas State University had monetary value, Mohammed al Abdullah would be one of the wealthiest people in the world. His love for K-State, the people he met there and the experiences he had pour through the computer screen of our Zoom call. His happiness was contagious.

Mohammed arrived at K-State from his native Dubai unable to speak English well, but in less than six months, he was able to excel in his classes. He graduated in December 2020 with a degree in industrial engineering, the first in his family to complete college. Mohammed now works for Ardent Mills, whom he interned for as a K-State student.

Mohammed threw himself into K-State activities, joining a fraternity, serving in Student Governing Association, the Union Board and Union Programming Council, multicultural engineering advisory board, and fundraising to support kids with cancer. “I learned English by being a part of the community,” he said. He was also the first international student selected to participate in the Snyder Leadership Legacy Fellows program. 

“I have lived and traveled all over the world, and I appreciate the welcoming community at K-State. There are people from more than 100 countries and all over the U.S. on campus, which helps build bridges. I didn’t feel like a stranger anymore,” Mohammed said. “Everyone at K-State set the example of kindness and respect and encouraged us to be leaders of change in the world.”

While at K-State, Mohammed was far away from his family, but he felt cared for by the K-State family. “Dr. Brad Kramer, the department head for industrial and manufacturing systems engineering, is amazing. He helped me so much,” Mohammed said. “He supported me like family, made sure I graduated on time with good grades, and he gave me career advice. He made me work hard and inspired me to be a great engineer.”

Mohammed credits many of his experiences and relationships at K-State for developing who he is as a person. “I care about who I am,” he said. “The education I got at K-State raised me to be a good person and respect others.”

Mohammed left his mark at K-State in many ways, including making sure there was space for non-Christian students to worship on campus. “When the new multicultural student center was being built, I asked Dr. Thomas Lane, vice president for student life, if there was a room in it where Muslims, Jews and other non-Christians could go to pray,” Mohammed said. “He put me in touch with the construction team, and now there is a room in the center.”

Mohammed is driven to mentor and pass on what he has learned to his younger siblings and anyone else who might benefit. “I want to help people change the world,” he said. “I ask myself, ‘Can I do something positive?’ Right now, with my capacity, I can be positive and lift people up. I think we’re a generation that has to speak up about things and the importance of being kind, respecting others and respecting differences.”

Mohammed plans to give back to K-State for all he received as a student. “I promise to give back and support K-State and industrial engineering, when I am capable,” he said. “I want to show people around the world how great K-State is.”

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