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When Ahmed Mohamed was arrested in Texas for a homemade clock believed to be a bomb, it seemed like the entire world stood behind him. Google invited him to its annual Science Fair, Microsoft sent an awesome tech package and President Barack Obama even invited him to the White House for Astronomy Night on October 19.
However, Kiera Wilmot was actually charged with two felonies when her science project exploded at her high school in Polk County, Florida. Back in April of 2013, the then 16-year-old was working on a volcano experiment for science class when the lid popped off and smoke shot out. Miami New Times reports that while no one was hurt and nothing was damaged, she was still escorted by police to a juvenile detention center and later charged with possession of a weapon on school property and discharging a destructive device.
It seems Wilmot was a victim of bad timing. The incident occurred eight days after the Boston Marathon bombing when people were still on edge. “I remember I was in shock and just started crying,” she recalled. “I was called a terrorist, and people tell me that I’m on the no-fly list even to this day.”
Another thing plaguing her mind is the incident with Mohamed last month. “I know exactly what he’s going through. It’s scary, but he has a lot of support. He is two years younger than I was when that happened, so he needs it, and I’m glad everyone is supporting him. But I wish I had all the support that Ahmed has.”
Wilmot is currently studying mechanical engineering at Florida Polytechnic University in Central Florida and, like the 14-year-old, she hopes to one day work for NASA. As far as public support, she says she hasn’t seen much of that. “No one has reached out to me yet. I would love to attend Astronomy Night.”
Maybe Mohamed should think about bringing her as his guest.