Tom Murphy

Armstrong Professor Receives FIRST LEGO League Award

(December 20, 2011) Dr. Thomas Murphy, associate professor of Engineering Studies at Armstrong, was honored with the FIRST LEGO League's inaugural Exemplary Community Partner Award. A special LEGO trophy was presented to Dr. Murphy due to his “exemplary, unwavering and continued service.”

“The award was presented to Tom because he has been the key volunteer in the local FIRST LEGO League competition since our first event in 2005,” said Julie Sonnenberg-Klein, Project Director for Math, Science and Technology (MaST) Initiatives at Georgia Tech Savannah, who presented the award on behalf of FIRST LEGO League. “He is the only volunteer who has participated in each and every event. We are really lucky to have him.”

FIRST LEGO League introduces children ages 9 to 14 to the fun and excitement of science and technology while building self-confidence, knowledge and life skills. The program challenges kids to think like scientists and engineers and organizes the Coastal Kids' Robotics Competition, which unites middle school students from across Georgia.

Dr. Murphy has served in various capacities since the Coastal Kids' Robotics Competition's inception. Over the years, he has served as a referee, robot design judge and, most recently, as the event's head referee. In the competition — which unites middle school students from across Georgia — kids use the LEGO Mindstorms kit to create a functioning robot and are evaluated on their design, performance, presentation and teamwork skills.

“It's wonderful to see the robots the kids have designed work spectacularly or fail miserably,” said Dr. Murphy. “They learn a lot either way, but it's nice to see how happy they are when their design succeeds.”

This accomplished educator and mentor teaches a wide range of engineering and computer science classes at Armstrong including Digital Logic, Signal Processing, Computer Programming and Electrical Circuits. Over the years, he also has served as a robotics mentor at Windsor Forest High School and Sol C. Johnson High School in Savannah.

Dr. Murphy has a Ph.D. and M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Florida as well as a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame. He originally joined Armstrong in 2002.