12-Yr-Old Indian-American College Grad Aims to Be US Prez One Day
The Quint chats exclusively with Tanishq Abraham, the child prodigy who aims to become a doctor by the age of 18.
He’s just a regular 12-year-old boy who loves to learn, play video games, and hang out with his friends. What’s different, you wonder? Well, by the age of 11, Tanishq Abraham has already earned three associate degrees from American River College (ARC), a community college in Sacramento, California. The youngest graduate, Tanishq graduated at the top of his class.
He now has offers from prestigious American universities under his belt. A native of Sacramento, California, Tanishq has been offered places at UC Davis and UC Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is offering him the Regents scholarship, the highest honour given to incoming students. He hasn’t decided which university he will be attending in the fall but thanks to his credits at ARC, Tanishq will be a third-year transfer student. He hopes to graduate by 2018.
Tanishq will be transferring from a 2-year degree program to a university (4-year degree program) and will join as a third-year engineering student. In other words, he is halfway into his engineering/bachelor’s degree.
How It All Began
In an interview with The Quint, Tanishq opens up about his fascination for dinosaurs at the age of 5 that led him to this stage today. At the age of 6 and homeschooled, Tanishq went up to his parents and asked them to enrol him in college-level classes, as wanted to learn more.
At first my parents were hesitant, but then they supported me and we found a professor who was willing to accept me in his class, and that was when I was seven years-old.
A Letter from President Obama
When he received his high school diploma a year ago, Tanishq ended up receiving a congratulatory letter from the President of the United States, Barack Obama.
For my high school graduation, I received a letter from President Obama and I was really excited. It said “Congratulations” and “you’re going to make a big difference!”
It is one of his goals in life to become a president of the US. When asked why, he said:
There are a few things I think I can change in the fields of education and healthcare.
Since he started college, Tanishq has written several articles on astronomy, he has given a talk at NASA, and even appeared as a speaker on TEDX.
Mensa, High IQ Society
Tanishq and his sister Tiara were enrolled into Mensa when they were four years old. His parents say that he picked up information very quickly and retained complex concepts that a lot of older students couldn’t.
They first tested my IQ level, and then they discovered this society which is when they decided that Mensa would be a good support for me, for us, in terms of resources.
He has skipped kindergarten and regular school, so when asked if he ever felt like he was missing out on being a regular tween, he exclaimed:
No, I actually don’t feel like I’m missing out. I enjoy being in college, both academically and interacting with them (college classmates).
When he first joined college, however, he wasn’t bullied, but sensed discomfort and jealously.
There were some students who were intimidated and possibly jealous of me but most of them were very supportive and nice. Of course they were confused wondering what I was doing in a college class but they later became used to me and we became friends.
Q: What about college, Tanishq? Are you afraid of fitting in with the older students?
A: Oh no! I’ll be fine, I have friends of all ages, and I’ve already been in college, remember?
The India Connect
Being a third generation Indian-American, we asked Tanishq if he was acquainted with his heritage at all, he immediately responded saying “Yes, I am!” He added:
One thing we like to do is watch Bollywood movies, we watch Indian soaps and eat Indian food.
When asked him about his favourite actor, he was shocked, saying “JUST ONE FAVOURITE ACTOR?” After a brief pause, he answered:
Ah, I like Salman Khan! I enjoyed Bhajrangi Bhaijaan and Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo. In movies, I also really liked PK a lot.
A hyper-intelligent young boy who dreams of becoming a doctor, medical researcher, and some day the president of the United States, Tanishq remains a humble 12-year-old, albeit with intellectual prowess that has already ensured him a spot in the limelight.
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