When nine-year-old Alvin L. Murphy, III, wrote a research paper about Henry Ford, he didn’t know where it would lead him. Kerri T.S. Overstreet, guidance counselor at Westdale Heights Academic Magnet School, where Alvin is a fourth grader, nominated him for the National Youth Leadership Forum: Pathways to STEM. The Envision program introduces elementary students to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Alvin’s parents, Valecia Murphy and Alvin Murphy, Jr., didn’t know about the nomination until Alvin’s acceptance came in the mail. Alvin traveled to the University of Houston and spent a week participating in hands-on workshops and simulations in medicine, engineering and crime scene investigation.
“He loves LEGO, so he already has some affinity for building and tinkering with things,” Valecia says. “I’m really glad that we were able to take Alvin and let him participate. He really seemed to enjoy it.”
Alvin’s favorite thing about the program was building a bristle bot because he got to bring it home. “It cleans up after your messes,” he says. Participants also dissected a cow’s heart and built a lung model.
Although focusing mainly on academics, Alvin plays recreational soccer and has been involved in his school’s robotics club when it was offered and is on the science lab team. Alvin also likes playing video games with friends and meeting new people.
When asked what makes Alvin one amazing kid, Valecia says, “He is very compassionate, has a lot of character and is very outgoing. He’s very special.”