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Youngster's Engineering Aspirations Realized at UH

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Erin D. McKenzie
Logan Craft, 10, is given a demonstration on smart materials by Ph.D. student Claudio Olmi during one stop on a tour of the college June 30. Photo by Thomas Shea.
Logan Craft, 10, is given a demonstration on smart materials by Ph.D. student Claudio Olmi during one stop on a tour of the college June 30. Photo by Thomas Shea.

Logan Craft’s summer has started off like any other grade school students'. He visited the beach in Galveston, attended camp and spent several long days getting into mischief with friends.

There is, of course, one exception. This 10-year-old’s summer plans included a tour of the University of Houston.

Why? It is simple, says the soon-to-be Harlem Elementary School fifth grader.

“I’m only in the fourth grade, but I still have to be ready to go to college,” he explained. “It’s really important to go so I can get smarter, get a degree, a real job and some money.”

Just weeks before his late June visit to the university’s central campus, Logan had penned a handwritten letter addressed directly to the UH president. He needed information. More specifically, he needed materials regarding the university’s mechanical engineering program.

For, as he puts it, “engineers build amazing things," and he just might like to be one someday.

He did, after all, recently toss out his other prospects—racecar driving; it was just too dangerous, and work as a magician that was just not lucrative.

So when his elementary school had its college week shortly before the summer break he wrote a letter to what he calls his first college choice—UH.

He heard a lot about the university, he said. In fact, his Aunt Nikki Craft earned her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at UH in 1996.

So far, he has the credentials to follow in her footsteps. Great grades. A love of math, science and, even better, a mind interested in how to build and make things work.

He spends hours, he admits, on his PlayStation 3 challenging himself to the game “Little Big Planet” where he builds elaborate cars and tanks. This is in addition to the time he devotes to constructing new things from his Legos.

So flanked by his father, Neal; mother, Linda; sister, Micah and both the chair and associate chair of the department of mechanical engineering, the shaggy haired blond expressed nothing but enthusiasm as he walked the halls of two of the college’s engineering buildings on his tour.

He learned about shape memory alloys—pushing buttons on one demonstration to heat up cables, affecting their stiffness and allowing him to move a metal arm. He saw a wind tunnel, classrooms, even sat in the department chair’s office.

The tour ended with the Baytown native jumping around in excitement, a wide grin growing over his face. He was happy with his first choice. His parents were, too.

Quite possibly UH’s youngest prospective student, Logan did not seem to care that he was about eight years too early. Because as Logan said he learned from his mother, “you should always be prepared.”

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