Education

Five ultra young college students and where they went

Posted August 24

Child prodigies who begin college in their late childhood or early teens are uncommon but not unheard of. The latest case to get attention is that of Jeremy Schuler, who enters Cornell's engineering program this month at age 12.

Results of these cases are mixed, as illustrated below. Some go on to normal, successful careers. Others flame out under the pressure and try to recover their lost childhoods along slower paths.

1. Jeremy Shuler

First entered college in 2016 at age 12

College: Cornell

Field: Engineering

Quote: “It’s a big campus, it’s a whole new world,” Jeremy's father, Andy Shuler, told the Washington Post. “I know it’s the right choice, it’s the only way he can be challenged and grow. But I still have my worries. He’s not going to have the normal college experience — all the good and bad and change that can come with that — but I think he can make some friends, be part of a study group, be part of the community.”

2. Moshe Kai Cavalin

First entered college in 2010 at age 12

College: UCLA

Field: Math

Quote: "At UCLA, though younger by many years than his classmates, Moshe holds his own in the university's nationally respected math department," the UCLA Newsroom writes. "One of his professors, Chandrashekhar Khare, had him in two classes, including a fall 2011 course in abstract algebra. 'He seemed to follow the material well,' Khare said. 'He shows such emotional and mathematical maturity that when teaching, I forget that he is so young!'"

3. Alia Sabur

First entered college in 2000 at age 10

College: State University of New York at Stony Brook

Field: Applied Mathematics

It's not always healthy or easy being a prodigy, and after becoming the world's youngest professor in Korea at age 18, Sabur returned to the United States and has tried to lead a normal, quiet life.

Quote: "I think there’s often a transition period for people like me who do a lot of things very early,” she told the Irish Times. “For a long time everything you do is special solely by virtue of your age. Inevitably, or so you hope, you grow up and become just a regular adult."

4. Sho Yano

First entered college in 1999 at age 9

College: Loyola University

Field: Medicine

Yano started college at Chicago's Loyola University, and then went on to medical school at the University of Chicago starting at 12, where he earned both a Ph.D and an M.D. by age 21.

Quote: "He is an accomplished pianist who has performed at Ravinia, and he has a black belt in tae kwon do," the Chicago Tribune reported. Classmates and faculty described him as 'sweet' and 'humble,' a hardworking, Bach-adoring, Greek literature-quoting student."

5. Adrogon de Mello

Graduated in 1988 at age 11

College: University of California, Santa Cruz

Field: Computational Mathematics

A cautionary tale in parental pressure, Adrogon was pushed by an ambitious father, ultimately leading to a broken marriage and charges of abuse. After graduating from college, he returned under an assumed name to complete high school and move on the slow track.

"Some of those who knew Adragon outside of class also wondered about the boy's welfare," the New York Times reported. "Gilda Stagnaro, who owns a restaurant frequented by the family, thought of him not as a precocious genius but as a small child. 'I gave him some money for graduation and he bought a rabbit,' she recalled. 'It was very special to me because I felt he was a little boy at heart. I'd hoped he'd have something to love and remember about his childhood.'''

Email: eschulzke@deseretnews.com

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