Mohamed is an Egyptian fencer who has excelled in national and international competitions and as a student at Princeton University.
Mohamed comes from a family of fencers, but never felt the pressure to become one himself. His mother and father, who were both national champion fencers in Egypt, encouraged him as a young child to try all sports. Nevertheless, at the early age of four Mohamed decided that he loved fencing and started training with his father, Maher Hamza, who is also the Technical Director of the Egyptian National Team.
When he was 15 years old and just finishing his sophomore year at Awty, he qualified for Brazil’s 2016 Summer Olympics in Egypt men's team foil, becoming the second youngest men’s foil fencer in the history of the Olympic Games to compete for his country.
Mohamed has already won multiple gold, silver and bronze medals in his discipline. Among other things, he won gold and silver medals in the 2019 Senior African Championship, along with a bronze at the 2019 Junior World Championships. His future is bright with his upcoming participation in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan!
We are proud to present this amazing interview as our April 2020 Alumni Spotlight!
What college are you attending and what are you studying?
I’m an undergrad at Princeton and have decided to major in MAE (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering) – but I only plan on focusing on the mechanical part of MAE – and am looking forward to continuing my path into being a mechanical engineer
What person, course, or experience most influenced you while at Awty? How?
Many teachers and officials as well as courses influenced me during my time at Awty and I think it’s unfair to pinpoint one of them, but in a more general view, I’ve taken a liking to engineering from a young age largely due to the science classes I had when I was in middle and upper school. I particularly enjoyed physics a lot and even decided to take it at a higher level as well for the IB. I did take an intro to engineering course with Ms. Glidewell which helped me confirm to myself that I truly wanted to study engineering in college and here I am, studying mechanical engineering and I fully enjoy the decision despite all the challenges I’m facing along the way.
Share your favorite memory of Awty:
Back in 2nd grade, I had undergone a surgery and was out of school for roughly a month and once I came back to school with my mom, the entire class rushed out to me in the hallway. Everyone hugged me and they seemed so happy that I was back in school. It was at that moment that I knew Awty really was a special place. That one moment made me super happy to the point where I still vividly remember it to this day.
How did your education at Awty prepare you for what you did in college and are doing today?
The IB really set the pace for me in terms of the workload I’d have to be used to for college. Although I felt a little overwhelmed at first because of all the changes and transitions from life at home to life in college, I was always somehow able to get my work done on time and find moments of free time to attend office hours or tutorial sessions to help make up all the work I missed due to all my competitions. The attention to detail conditioned into me by my teachers also helped me be efficient and precise in my work in order to get the best out of myself which definitely helped me in all of my classes in college, especially my engineering classes.
What advice would you give current Awty students interested in pursuing a career in your field?
To never give up on the things you dream of. Do what most interests you and don’t force yourself into liking a subject or field because it’s that inner passion that will help you work and persevere through those difficult moments. Whether it’s chemical, electric, or mechanical engineering for example, you need to know which of the sciences you enjoy the most first and then think about possible career moves afterwards before choosing which field you want to major and work in. Once you do that, literally anything is possible, especially if you find a routine for yourself. Set some time aside, do the extra work and you’ll find yourself excelling in whatever you put your mind to. I know it’s said a lot but it really is the key to everything. That along with patience and the results or goals you’ve been reaching for will be yours for sure.
What is something people may not know about you?
I’m kind of ambidextrous, both in writing, sports and just everyday life things. Also, I am a big sports person. I will follow any sport to be honest. Fencing, football, soccer, tennis, basketball, rugby, badminton, you name it. I don’t know what it is, but sports in general just fascinates me and I’m always doing my best to stay up to date with everything.
Anything else you would like to share?
I’d just like to thank my parents, of course, and the entire staff and faculty of Awty for making me the person I am today. I was able to build my work ethic, patience, communication skills, personality and so much more with the very well built environment that I was lucky to be in every day. From the extra care of my teachers and friends to the support that I got from everyone as I tried to balance my athletic and academic life at Awty, I was able to find an identity, routine, lifestyle that I can carry on with me for the rest of my life and it wouldn’t be possible without all the genuine personalities that make up Awty. Having gone to Awty from PreK-3 to 12th grade, I will always view Awty as my second home and I think that goes to show how amazing of a place the school is (at least in my eyes).