Campus Prodigies -- 6 Pre-Teen College Graduates
One University of Memphis student is never on campus without his parents. This isn't because Arun Jambulapati has been coddled into an extended adolescence. Jambulapati hasn't even reached adolescence. He's 12 years old.
Jambulapati began taking classes at the university -- along with his middle school curriculum -- when he was just 10, reports WMC-TV. After he proved his maturity and intellectual prowess, university officials allowed him to enroll full-time, although he lacked a few of the requirements for normal admission, like a high school diploma, or a fifth grade education.
The prodigy is now a junior, who hopes to graduate with a bachelor's degree in mathematical sciences and economics.
Jambulapati will probably graduate in his low teens, which means he doesn't enter the incredibly exclusive club of children who have received a college degree before their 13th birthday.
1. Adragon De Mello
In 1988, De Mello broke a world record when he graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz, with a degree in mathematics at age 11. De Mello's father, Agustin De Mello, took on the boy's education as his full-time job, called him a genius on "60 Minutes" when his son was just 10, hoped that he would "follow in the steps of Da Vinci or Einstein," and wanted him to earn a Nobel Prize before his 16th birthday.
Agustin De Mello's obsessive parenting caused great grief for the whole family. The parents separated, the boy's mother went into hiding, and for a spell he was put into foster care. After graduating from college, Adragon De Mello enrolled in junior high under a fake name and joined Little League.
"I had enough," A 23-year-old De Mello recalled on "60 Minutes." "I didn't want to go through it anymore."
2. Michael Kearney
Kearney broke De Mello's record in 1994, when he graduated from high school at age 6, from junior college at 8, and from the University of South Alabama at 10 with a degree in anthropology.
Unlike De Mello, Kearney did not slow down. He completed his master's degree in biochemistry at 14, with a thesis titled, "Kinetic Isotope Effects of Thymidine Phosphorylase." He began teaching at Vanderbilt University two years later, and received his second master's degree in computer science before he reached voting age.
By 21, Kearney had four undergraduate degrees and was completing his doctorate in chemistry. "Most people, they get into school when they're 6, and they get out of school around 22, 23," he told ABC. "That's what I'm going to do. But I just happened to be in college the entire time."
In the fall of 2006, Kearney won $1,000,000 on AOL's scavenger hunt game "Gold Rush."
3. Sho Yono
Sho Yono scored a 1500 out of 1600 on the SATs at age 8, and went off to Loyola University Chicago the next year. He graduated summa cum laude at 12, and completed his PhD in molecular genetics and cell biology when he was 18. His IQ is off the charts.
As a child, the worst punishment his parents could give him was refusing to let him read for a day.
Yono's sister, Sayuri, graduated from university last year at age 13.
6. Moshe Kai Cavalin
The 13-year-old is currently on a book tour, promoting a guide to success that's already a bestseller in Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. Cavalin knows a thing or two about success. He graduated East Los Angeles Community College at age 11 with an associate in science degree in astrophysics and a 4.0 GPA. He plans to finish his mathematics studies at UCLA next year. Oh, and he's also a potential Olympic contender in martial arts.
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.
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