Mohamed Jalloh is an Electrical Engineering major at Lawson State Community College and will be graduating at the end of the year. He also works at Jones Valley Teaching Farm, where he began working as an eleventh grader in Wenonah’s Academy of Business and Finance.
Jalloh was one of the students picked to design the farm. During the summer, he and the other students met once a week to see how they wanted the farm to look, and he took a leadership role in the formation of the farm. He and other students also planned the best way to introduce the farm to the students and faculty at Woodlawn High School. Although Jalloh graduated after the farm started, Jones Valley Teaching Farm invited him to continue working at the farm, where he is now the Woodlawn farm manager. He also designs curriculum for Jones Valley. Mohamed credits Ed for playing a major role into where he is today. He says that Ed “helped me learn through first hand experiences and by talking to people who have been working with their jobs for 15 to 25 years. They helped me find confidence and gave me a preview of what giving back to my community can look like. Because of what Ed has done for me, it motivates me to give back to my high school and the community I live in.”
Mohamed Jalloh became involved in the Birmingham Education Foundation’s programs
while attending Woodlawn’s Academy of Business and Finance. This academy is designed for students to meet new business professionals and shadow them to gain hands-on experience outside of the classroom. Jalloh received the opportunity to shadow the financier at Alabama Power, and even had the chance to participate in Alabama Power’s board of director’s meeting. Mohamed also received mentorship from Eddie Friend, a member of Ed’s Board of Directors who was introduced to Mohamed as part of the Rotary Club of Birmingham’s mock interview partnership with Ed. Describing his relationship with his mentor, Jalloh says. “He would meet with me and check in to see how I was doing. He also made sure I had plans for after I finished high school.” He also participated in job shadowing and mock interviews.
When Mohamed came to the United States in 2011 from the Republic of Guinea, he spoke several languages, but he only spoke only basic greetings in English. As he reflects on his time at Woodlawn High School, Mohamed notes, “I had to do double of the work and translate the assignment back and forth between English and French. It was tough staying up, but I was able to get a high GPA. Over time, I was able to learn English, but that was my journey.” But, Mohamed didn’t let that hold him back, and through his partnership with Ed, he received the chance to speak in front of the Rotary Club and Condoleezza Rice. Jalloh notes the experience by saying, it was “uplifting and empowering because English isn’t my first language.” He also adds, “It was an honor and memorable experience to speak in front of Condoleezza Rice. It helped me to find confidence because the Ed Foundation was investing in me. I could see it working and the benefit of it.”