RARE  RISINGSTARS 2014 The UK’s Top 10 Black Students
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No. 10



BSc Computer Science
University of Sussex
Academics and Arts
Lutalo Muhammad

Wilfrid was raised in Wembley, an area with one of the highest incidences of child poverty in London. His own family was on an extremely low income and he used to receive the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) before it was scrapped. In spite of his hardships, Wilfrid has a charming and positive personality and is modest about his achievements, summarising this period by saying: ‘we just had to make it work, I guess’.

“There’s not a lot of hope in the poorest communities and to help rectify that will be my biggest achievement!”

He attended Preston Manor, a school that achieved good grades for a bad area, but wasn’t exceptional by any means. Wilfrid had a keen interest in technology growing up and was always really inquisitive, constantly asking his brothers to explain exactly what they were doing on the family computer. When they went out without him one day, aged 8, he decided to open up the computer to find out what was going on inside. This became a theme and, by the age of 12, he was taking apart all of the siblings’ remote‑controlled cars and the controllers themselves. He would use the parts to build new toys or controllers that did what he wanted them to!

”Never be discouraged from achieving what you know you are capable of.”

Wilfrid carried this creative technical ability through to his academic studies, where he would go on to achieve the highest ever IT coursework grade at his school. He has since secured highly competitive technology internships at a series of prestigious companies, including JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs. During a two‑month internship at Excelian, Wilfrid even devised a complicated solution for a universal back up image to back up company hardware, a system that the company still uses for their data security to this day.

He is an Amos Bursary Scholar, recently re‑designed the organisation’s website and was named as its ‘Beyond Outstanding Student of 2013’. However, Wilfrid is no one‑trick pony: his creativity also extends to the Arts. A keen and prodigiously talented actor, Wilfrid was encouraged to take part in after school drama classes during Year 7. He was eventually selected by the tutors above his fellow students to take part in auditions at the BBC, although he was forced to stop taking the classes for financial reasons.

Wilfrid also has a keen interest in poetry. He wrote verse as part of the 2004 Young Writers’ National Poetry Competition, and his work was published alongside other winners in the resulting volume. Today, he continues to perform spoken word poetry that is mostly centred on social commentary and highlighting the inequality within society.

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