Sunday 23 October 2016

Ivy League university welcomes Jeremy, 12, the youngest student in its history

Published 02/09/2016 | 07:21

Jeremy Shuler, 12, is the youngest student on record to attend Cornell University (AP)
Jeremy Shuler, 12, is the youngest student on record to attend Cornell University (AP)

When he was two, Jeremy Shuler was reading books in English and Korean - now the exuberant 12-year-old is the youngest student on record at a prestigious US university.

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Jeremy is the home-schooled child of two aerospace engineers who were living in Grand Prairie, Texas, when he applied to Ivy League Cornell University.

While his elite-level exam scores in maths and science aged 10 showed he was intellectually ready for college, what sealed the deal was his parents' willingness to move to Ithaca.

Jeremy's father, Andy Shuler, transferred from Lockheed Martin in Texas to its location in New York state.

With his bowl-cut hair, cherubic face and frequent happy laughter, Jeremy is clearly still a child despite his advanced intelligence.

He swung in his chair while his parents, who he calls Mommy and Daddy, recounted his early years during an interview at the engineering school where his grandfather is a professor, his father got his doctorate and Jeremy is now an undergraduate.

"From the beginning, he was physically advanced, very strong," said Harrey Shuler, who has a doctorate in aerospace engineering but put her career on hold to home-school Jeremy.

He fixated on letters and numbers aged three months, knew the alphabet at 15 months, and was reading books on his own at 21 months in English and Korean, his mother's native language.

When he was five he read The Lord Of The Rings and Journey Through Genius: The Great Theorems Of Mathematics on his own.

"We were concerned about him socialising with other kids," his mother said.

"At the playground he was freaked out by other kids running around screaming. But when we took him to Math Circle and math camp, he was very social. He needed someone with similar interests."

Jeremy said his closest friends are from the maths discussion groups.

"One of my Math Circle friends actually wrote Minecraft for Dummies," he said, adding that the computer game is one of his favourite pastimes along with reading science fiction.

He said he is settling in to college life.

"I was nervous at first, but I'm a lot more excited than nervous now," he said. "As Mommy said, all the kids in math camp were older than me, so I'm used to having older friends. As long as they like math."

Jeremy added: "The classes are kind of easy so far, but I know they'll be harder pretty soon."


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