Anthaea-Grace Patricia Dennis, a 12-year-old student from Ottawa, Canada has made history as the youngest person in Canadian history to graduate from university. Dennis accepted her University of Ottawa diploma for a bachelor’s degree in biomedical science during the weekend.
The child prodigy began her university studies when she was nine years old and has completed a 40-page thesis on the relationship between the brain and the hand for right-handed versus left-handed people. Dennis spent a year researching the topic and went on to present her findings at the Ottawa-Carleton Institute of Biology Symposium, CBC News reported.
“I can now call myself a researcher,” she told the outlet. “There are people showing interest in what I’m doing, and I feel like the master of the cerebellum.” Her mom Johanna Dennis, who has been behind her throughout her studies, said she noticed that her daughter had special skills when she was around two-and-a-half years old. Besides reading at that age, she started public school when she was four after studying for kindergarten and grade one together.
But being just a 12-year-old among people much older than her in class was initially not easy due to the preconceived notions people held about her, and that is why she advises her peers who are also gifted and smart not to let other people’s expectations bring them down.
Dennis, who also learned swimming, dancing, and musical theatre growing up, is pursuing postgraduate school, with McGill University, the University of Toronto and the Illinois Institute of Technology being her top three candidates, she said.
“I worked so hard from when I was eight. I have earned these accomplishments,” she told the University of Ottawa during an interview. “Age has not stopped me from being where I belong, where I deserve to be.”