Georgia Tech student with autism fulfills 'Jeopardy!' dream
Last week on Jeopardy!, a dream comes true for a local Georgia Tech student.
A graduate of Auburn University, Kelvin Smith is pursuing his PhD in chemical and biomolecular engineering at the institute. After years of preparation, he’ll take the stage as a contestant.
“It really started when I was 14,” Smith said. “You could say my best subjects are really in the academic round. Of course, math and science, just something you would learn in school because I can adapt pretty well with that.”
His weakest subjects, he said, are in pop culture.
“I don’t go out a lot so that’s a little bit harder for me,” Smith said.
Smith was diagnosed at age ten with autism spectrum disorder, making social situations especially challenging.
“I’m already winning because I have, along with the support of my mother learned coping mechanisms,” Smith said, adding he doesn’t depend on medication. “For me to basically be in my room, recharge my batteries. I like to play my Nintendo Switch. I like to read books. Even doing homework sometimes helps me.”
His mom he said spotted the signs of autism early and helped her son channel his academic talent into his greatest strength.
“She knew something was different about me at age two when I knew my twelve times tables,” Smith said.
He hasn’t stopped since, fueled by a quest for knowledge and dream of the Jeopardy stage. His appearance he hopes will inspire others to keep moving towards their dreams.
‘It was just a mind-blowing experience,” Smith said.