News / USA

Child Prodigy Finds College Admittance Elusive

Tanishq Abraham is seen speaking at the NASA Lunar Science Forum at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California.
Tanishq Abraham is seen speaking at the NASA Lunar Science Forum at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California.
He became a member of Mensa at age four. He gives talks at NASA. He’s homeschooled because regular class work doesn’t challenge him. Yet ironically, he cannot get into college as a full-time student.

That’s the predicament of Tanishq Abraham, a nine-year-old prodigy from Sacramento, California.

After several colleges turned him down because of his age, Tanishq and his parents began piecing together an education that includes homeschooling, spelling and science bees and, at last, some classes at American River College, a local community college.

“All of the classes are easy for me,” he said, chuckling. “I still read the books and materials they recommend so that I’m sure I know everything. I kind of do have that natural understanding, but I just want to make sure.”

Tanishq says he’s steamrolling through the science material, though he does admit language arts gives him some difficulty. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, he has taken advanced college-level courses in astronomy, chemistry, geology, biotech, history and computer programming.

And while Tanishq keeps busy with a voracious appetite for learning, he says he still manages to squeeze in play time with friends his age and participates in a choir group. His mom, Taji, admits it’s a lot of work driving him around to his various activities.

“I do normal stuff kids my age do, like play,” he said, adding that he also has college friends, mostly from the astronomy club at American River College.  His mom says he also likes playing the piano (He gave a recital at age three.), tennis, table tennis, Wii games and watching TV.

Taji, a veterinarian, says she first thought something was unusual about Tanishq when he expressed interest in books as a baby.

“He was very curious what was in them,” she said. “He enjoyed listening when I’d read to him, and he’d grab the book and try to flip pages.”

Taji mentioned her observations to her husband Bijou, a computer programmer for underwater remotely operated vehicles, who suggested it was more a case of a new mom thinking her baby was the best.

But the evidence kept piling up.

“He became fascinated with clocks,” said Taji. “Around two [years old], he could read a clock and tell time.”

By four, Tanishq was accepted to Mensa, the world renowned organization for people of high intelligence. And by five, he was already speeding past his peers in reading comprehension.

“In a week or two he jumped to second-grade level books, joined the accelerated reading program and after a few months, he jumped to third and fourth grade level books, scoring about 95 percent on comprehension quizzes,” Taji said. “Now, he’s in the fifth grade but doing seventh grade English and eighth grade math through Stanford [University]’s online program for gifted children.”

Taji is quick to defend against those who say parents shouldn’t push their kids.

“People think the parents push the children and say we are not giving him a childhood,” she said. “That’s just not the case. He’s really enjoying his childhood. In fact, it’s the other way around. He has the passion and the drive to learn and do things. We just can’t stop him. At six, he Googled up everything to see what courses were being offered in Sacramento.”

According to Tanishq’s mom, it was her son’s idea to start taking college courses.

Tanishq was rejected from several higher education institutions before finally being given a chance to take a course at American River College where, at seven, he audited an advanced geology course. Stephen Sterling, the professor, had to convince other faculty members to allow a young child to attend classes.

“I told the dean, ‘You don’t get it,’” said Sterling. “‘He’s going to be done with a BA [Bachelor of Arts] at 11, and have a doctorate from Stanford at 16 or 17. Where’s he going to say he got his start?’”

Sterling says the dean was receptive but “rolled her eyes a bit.” Now, he says, everyone who’s met Tanishq “totally knows what he’s all about.”

The young prodigy initially had to be accompanied by his mom.

“I registered as a student, and he could come and read my materials,” said Taji. “He would study with me. We were like study partners. That’s how he learned geology. Then the professors realized he had so much potential, and so we went back to the college, and they allowed him to officially enrol.”

Since then, Sterling has taken Tanishq, who is still not a full-time student, under his wing.

“He got the highest score in the class,” Sterling said, adding that during the daily quizzes, he noticed Tanishq was peering at his mom’s papers and thought he might be looking for help.

“I didn’t really care because he was auditing,” he said.

Then, during the final exam, Sterling says he saw Tanishq again looking at his mother’s paper, but this time he heard Tanishq telling his mom she had something wrong.

“He’d been helping her the whole time, not the other way around,” Sterling said. “He got an A,” adding that it was amazing to read these highly developed, sophisticated test answers all in child’s handwriting.

Sterling can’t believe colleges and universities aren’t jumping at the chance to enrol Tanishq.

“If I was at Stanford, I’d be saying to the president, ‘We need to get this kid here.’” he said.  “‘By the time he’s 35, he’s going to be a billionaire and giving to our university.’”

Sterling says that in addition to being a great student, Tanishq is a very well liked member of the school community. He never shows off and is always willing to help his classmates.

And what does Tanishq want to do when he grows up?

“That’s simple,” he says. “A scientist, doctor or president of the United States. But I have to wait until around 2040, because I have to be 35 to become president.”

His vice presidential choice might end up being his younger sister, who also was accepted to Mensa at the age of four.

Below is an episode of the YouTube show "Prodigies" featuring Tanishq.

You May Like

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: riano baggy from: ina
August 22, 2012 10:47 PM
don't worry Tanishq still studying take open university it's no problem about your age.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid