UPDATED Monday, May 21, 2012 --- 10:05 a.m.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Monona teen may be the youngest to walk across the Kohl Center stage and receive her bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Less than three weeks after her 16th birthday, Serra Crawford graduated Sunday. Serra says she just enjoys learning.
The UW-Madison registrar's office says Serra is the youngest graduate since 1978, the year records began to be searchable.
At age 4, Serra was doing second-grade math. By 6, she was into trigonometry and algebra. And, by 10 she was doing college-level work. Home schooling and e-learning courses put Serra on the fast track. The State Journal (http://bit.ly/KCbsb5 ) says intelligence runs in the family. Serra's brother, Kyler, was 16 1/2 when he graduated from UW-Madison last year.
Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.
Posted Monday, April 30, 2012--6:05 p.m.
In many ways, Serra Crawford is like thousands of other graduating college seniors. She says, "I have worked very, very hard for the last four years."
But there is something that certainly separates Serra
from the rest of the UW-Madison class of 2012. In May, she's not only graduating from U.W., she's also turning 16.
Classmates think it's pretty amazing she's graduating from college at just 16. Serra says, "A lot of people are really shocked. I have had a couple of jaws literally drop." Then, she tells them started college course work at age 10.
Gifted and talented from the get-go, with an ever-present appetite for academics, Serra was home schooled....until she got accepted at a two-year college as a 10-year-old.
"When I was at the two-year college, I looked very young and got a lot of looks, a lot of glances, a lot of whispering behind my back....'Oh, who's that little kid?'. I was definitely a little scared. I was nervous. I mean, I was a ten-year-old, walking with 18-year-olds, going to the same class. It was intimidating both for me and for them because I was in a room full of 18-year-olds, and they were in a room with a 10-year-old, doing their same course work."
She's been full-time at UW-Madison since age 14. Serra is an International Studies major, with a focus on Environmental Studies, and also African culture and health.
Serra would really rather focus on things like her research boosting vitamin A in corn in developing nations than on the fact she's getting her college diploma at the age most kids are getting a driver's license.
"I don't like to brag about it, and I don't really think it's that spectacular...what I'm doing. I'm just at a different stage of learning than a lot of people are."
And what about missing the chance to be a typical high schooler?
"I definitely think there are some times that I am missing out on high school, but I think overall, this is just a great opportunity for me...because I'll be graduating at 16, and I'll have five years to do whatever I want--to do something really spectacular...either get an extra degree...or volunteer work."
In her immediate future she has to take one last round of finals before that walk across the stage to receive a college diploma two years before most her age receive their high school diplomas. "I'm going to be totally star struck...and so excited. I can't wait to move on to the next chapter of my life and see what that has in store for me."
Serra's really interested in global health and is looking at getting a Masters in Nutrition from U-W-Madison, then medical internships and medical school. Ultimately, Serra wants to be a surgeon. She certainly has a big head start toward achieving that goal.