11-Year-Old Sacramento Prodigy Graduates College

Monday, June 01, 2015
Tanishq Abraham

Eleven-year-old Tanishq Abraham of Sacramento is smarter than you are.

Much smarter. He joined Mensa International, “the high IQ society,” when he was four. While kids his age are finishing up the fifth-grade, Tanishq just picked up three associate degrees from American River College (ARC) in math and physical science, general science and language studies. He only spent a year in college.

Tanishq was home-schooled early on by his mother, who reportedly put her own Ph.D. pursuits on hold, and began taking classes at ARC when he was 7. He graduated from high school with a 4.0 GPA when he was 10, but had already accumulated enough college credits to finish ARC quickly.

Tanishq’s father, Bijou, is a software engineer and graduate of Cornell University. He told an interviewer that he himself earned a perfect SAT score in math. Tanishq’s 9-year-old daughter is also a member of Mensa and takes classes at ARC.

Tanishq said he is mulling over career choices, but leans toward doctor, medical researcher and then president. And he would like to win a Nobel Prize.

But, apparently, Tanishq has a problem making up his mind. In an article for NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute, then a 7-year-old taking classes at Stanford, he wrote: “When I grow up I am going to be a multi-field scientist because I like many science subjects like chemistry, biology, physics, geology, paleontology and of course astronomy!”

That seemed like a good idea then. “My professor was cool and my adult classmates were also good. I enjoyed the topics of Special Relativity, General Relativity, Fundamental Particles, Time Travel, Black holes, GRBs, and Astrobiology!! I enjoyed doing oral presentations in journal club about Kepler-10b which is an exoplanet and for my monograph about Astrobiology.”

But what 7-year-old really knows their own mind? At some point, you have to grow up.

Tanishq has made good progress but still has some way to go if he expects to measure up to the prodigy standard established by Doogie Howser, MD. The late ‘80s TV creation of Steven Bochco and David E. Kelley registered his perfect SAT score at six, finished high school in nine weeks at 9, graduated from Princeton University at 10 and wrapped up medical school by 14.

Like Neil Patrick Harris, who played Doogie Howser, Tanishq has made the talk show rounds. In January, he was a guest on “Conan” and told a few of his favorite science jokes. (“Why can’t you trust atoms? Because they make up everything.”) It was probably just a warm-up for the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Eleven Year-Old Earns Three Degrees One Year after Finishing High School (by Meredith Hamilton, Christian Science Monitor)

Northern California Child Prodigy Gets College Degrees at Age 11 (by Veronica Rocha, Los Angeles Times)

11-Year-Old Graduates from California College with 3 Degrees (by Morgan Baskin, USA Today)

Tanishq Abraham (NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute)

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