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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    Default 13yo prodigy doesn't like be told NO...

    STORRS, Conn. – Even at 13, Colin Carlson believes he's running out of time.


    Colin is a sophomore at the University of Connecticut, seeking a bachelor's degree in ecology and evolutionary biology and another in environmental studies. But he's been knocked off course by the university's rejection of his request to take a class that includes summer field work in South Africa.

    He and his mother say university officials told them he is too young for the overseas course. So he's filed an age discrimination claim with the university and U.S. Department of Education, which is investigating.

    "I'm losing time in my four-year plan for college," he said. "They're upsetting the framework of one of my majors."

    Michael Kirk, a spokesman for UConn, would not comment on Colin's case. But he said that generally, safety is the university's first concern when travel is involved.

    The university would not let Colin enroll, even after his mother, Jessica Offir, offered to release UConn from liability and accompany her son as a chaperone at her own expense, she and Colin said.

    Colin was 2 or 3 when he began reading on his own, Offir said, and was up to "Harry Potter" by the time he was 4. An only child, he has faced trouble before because of his brainpower. His kindergarten teacher would not allow him to take books with him at nap time, and he was ridiculed by other children who fired math questions at him to entertain themselves, she said.

    "You have no idea what kids like this experience," Offir said.

    Colin skipped two grades in public school and began taking psychology, history and other courses at UConn when he was 9. He graduated from Stanford University Online High School at age 11, and soon after enrolled full-time at UConn.

    "I'm actually like any other student, he said. "The faculty and students have better things to do than worry about a 13-year-old holding his own."

    Over the years, Colin, who said he is fascinated by natural ecosystems, has traveled extensively. He has gone sea kayaking off Nova Scotia and Ecuador, hiked in numerous national parks and, with his mother, has traveled across the U.S. by car.

    "It's important to have a very wide world view," he said. "Biology is fundamentally about the diversity of life, with a focus across the planet."

    Colin says the course in conservation work in South Africa would have been critical to his studies and the rejection has forced him to change his thesis plans.

    He said that once he's completed his undergraduate studies, he wants a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology and a degree in environmental law for a career in conservation science. He intends to earn the two degrees by age 22.

    Carl Schlichting, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology who has taught Colin in two courses, said he is not only an outstanding student, but is unusually certain for a 13-year-old about where he is headed professionally.

    "He has very strong ideas about what he wants to do," he said. "His self-confidence is very high. It's a very unusual package to see the intellect and confidence at that age."

    To be eligible to study abroad, students may not be on university probation or academic probation and must have earned a grade point average of at least a "C" — no problem for Colin, who's an honor student with a near-perfect 3.9 GPA.

    The study abroad office and faculty member leading the trip ultimately decide who may go, Kirk said.

    Brian Whalen, president and chief executive officer of the Forum on Education Abroad, a nonprofit member association of 400 schools, agencies and other groups, said he has not heard of another case where a college student Colin's age had tried to study abroad. When accepted into a college or university, a student generally is assumed to have access to academic programs, he said.

    Although Colin was barred from the South African field trip course, he will participate in a National Science Foundation-funded research group that also will take him to South Africa to study plant ecology.

    Colin and his mother say they would be satisfied if the university ensures that the NSF-funded research trip and a seminar fulfill the academic requirements of the course he originally sought. They also have asked that $5,000 in stipend and expenses be reimbursed.

    Their lawyer, Michael Agranoff, said he wants to negotiate a solution. He and a lawyer for the state have scheduled their first meeting Friday, he said.

    Colin says he would prefer not to have to fight, but he has no choice.

    "When people are drawing lines in the sand, you're going to have to cross them," he said. "I'm not going back."
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  2. #2
    Eruption
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    Those tri lam's sure are fighters!

  3. #3
    Good Enough brownnation's Avatar
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    Using lawyers for frivolity at 13. Man, he does learn quick!
    Anonymous for fear of fatwa

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by brownnation View Post
    Using lawyers for frivolity at 13. Man, he does learn quick!
    well, I don't think he should just have to say "ok" and accept being told no. Hopefully they can go to mediation but I see nothing unreasonable about him going especially if his mother is absolving the university of liability and willing to go as his personal chaperone on her own dime.

    In a time when so much of the country is focused on deadbeats with no ambition, I would like to think this kid would be receiving all the support in the world from the university and the larger community for his determination, self-discipline and ambition.
    Stay out of it, dude.


    I am Van Halen.

  5. #5
    Good Enough brownnation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by broken9500 View Post
    well, I don't think he should just have to say "ok" and accept being told no. Hopefully they can go to mediation but I see nothing unreasonable about him going especially if his mother is absolving the university of liability and willing to go as his personal chaperone on her own dime.

    In a time when so much of the country is focused on deadbeats with no ambition, I would like to think this kid would be receiving all the support in the world from the university and the larger community for his determination, self-discipline and ambition.
    Totally agree. It was just easier to make a joke about lawyers.

    Edit: But in the University's defense, I don't care what that mother signed, if something happened to that kid over their, she would own that place.
    Anonymous for fear of fatwa

  6. #6
    Atomic Punk MF5150's Avatar
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    12.13.17 @ 06:40 PM
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    Can somebody explain to me how a 13 year old goes to COLLEGE? I know he skipped grades and did the online stuff, but still. How can he just go around what 90% of other kids have to do?

    I know he's REALLY smart but don't you have to go to....y'know....HIGH SCHOOL first?!?!?

    Am I missing something? I've never understood this (maybe that's why I wasn't in college when I was 13...but that's another issue....). How do kids in the States go to college at 13?
    My man, when you are fantasizing, don't go for attainable, you can get attainable at the local Applebee's. - Dave's Dreidel

  7. #7
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by MF5150 View Post
    Can somebody explain to me how a 13 year old goes to COLLEGE? I know he skipped grades and did the online stuff, but still. How can he just go around what 90% of other kids have to do?

    I know he's REALLY smart but don't you have to go to....y'know....HIGH SCHOOL first?!?!?

    Am I missing something? I've never understood this (maybe that's why I wasn't in college when I was 13...but that's another issue....). How do kids in the States go to college at 13?
    he's going to college because he already graduated high school.
    Stay out of it, dude.


    I am Van Halen.

  8. #8
    Good Enough brownnation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MF5150 View Post
    Can somebody explain to me how a 13 year old goes to COLLEGE? I know he skipped grades and did the online stuff, but still. How can he just go around what 90% of other kids have to do?

    I know he's REALLY smart but don't you have to go to....y'know....HIGH SCHOOL first?!?!?

    Am I missing something? I've never understood this (maybe that's why I wasn't in college when I was 13...but that's another issue....). How do kids in the States go to college at 13?
    Ain't about the time, it's about the knowledge. If you think about the discrepancy of aptitudes among children, age seems like a rather arbitrary way to determine grade level if you ask me.
    Anonymous for fear of fatwa

  9. #9
    Eruption
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    Quote Originally Posted by broken9500 View Post
    well, I don't think he should just have to say "ok" and accept being told no. Hopefully they can go to mediation but I see nothing unreasonable about him going especially if his mother is absolving the university of liability and willing to go as his personal chaperone on her own dime.

    In a time when so much of the country is focused on deadbeats with no ambition, I would like to think this kid would be receiving all the support in the world from the university and the larger community for his determination, self-discipline and ambition.
    I agree. I like the fire and confidence this kid has. When you hear about a child prodigy, usually the kid is woefully inept at socializing and is leaking ear medicine on his shirt collar. Reading between the lines, it does sound like he may need to learn to relax a little. I hope he gets what he wants here but I also hope he doesn't become maniacal a long the way.

  10. #10
    Good Enough VH Wahoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MF5150 View Post
    Can somebody explain to me how a 13 year old goes to COLLEGE? I know he skipped grades and did the online stuff, but still. How can he just go around what 90% of other kids have to do?

    I know he's REALLY smart but don't you have to go to....y'know....HIGH SCHOOL first?!?!?

    Am I missing something? I've never understood this (maybe that's why I wasn't in college when I was 13...but that's another issue....). How do kids in the States go to college at 13?
    "Colin skipped two grades in public school and began taking psychology, history and other courses at UConn when he was 9. He graduated from Stanford University Online High School at age 11, and soon after enrolled full-time at UConn."

  11. #11
    Atomic Punk MF5150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VH Wahoo View Post
    "Colin skipped two grades in public school and began taking psychology, history and other courses at UConn when he was 9. He graduated from Stanford University Online High School at age 11, and soon after enrolled full-time at UConn."
    I read that stuff. But still how do you even enroll in HS when you're 11?!? Online or not online.

    Not to mention taking courses at UConn at the age of 9. The kid should still have to take normal HS like the rest of the population.

    Quote Originally Posted by brownnation View Post
    Ain't about the time, it's about the knowledge. If you think about the discrepancy of aptitudes among children, age seems like a rather arbitrary way to determine grade level if you ask me.
    Good point.
    Last edited by MF5150; 03.26.10 at 08:52 AM.
    My man, when you are fantasizing, don't go for attainable, you can get attainable at the local Applebee's. - Dave's Dreidel

  12. #12
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by MF5150 View Post
    I read that stuff. But still how do you even enroll in HS when you're 11?!? Online or not online.

    Not to mention taking courses at UConn at the age of 9. The kid should still have to take normal HS like the rest of the population.



    Good point.
    with prodigies, holding them back for the sake of social norms often screws them up big time. Let them do their thing. Would you want to be held back just because you're moving faster than everyone else?
    Stay out of it, dude.


    I am Van Halen.

  13. #13
    Good Enough
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeautifulGirl5150 View Post
    Those tri lam's sure are fighters!


  14. #14
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    prodigy or no, having him around is going to be a real drag at the keggers...

  15. #15
    Good Enough brownnation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy007 View Post
    prodigy or no, having him around is going to be a real drag at the keggers...
    Seriously, the school is probably trying to save the kid from corruption. His first beer and hummer and he could be as dumb as the rest of us.
    Anonymous for fear of fatwa

 

 

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