The teen hopes to continue his education at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute for Technology and eventually get an internship working for Elon Musk.
Like most 12-year-olds his age, Caleb Anderson enjoys collecting action figures, playing with Beyblades, and watching Netflix. However, unlike his peers, he had learned sign language before he could verbally communicate and by age two, could read the United States Constitution. Today, he is a sophomore in college majoring in aerospace engineering and has even caught the eye of the elite engineering school, Georgia Tech. "By nine-months-old, he was able to sign over 250 words, and by 11-months-old, he was speaking and reading," his proud family described him to 11Alive.
The exceptionally bright teen's parents Claire and Kobi Anderson said it didn't take them long to realize their first child was special. "As we started to interact with other parents, and had other children, then we started to realize how exceptional this experience was because we had no other frame of reference," said Anderson. Although Caleb qualified for MENSA at age three, he waited until he was five to join the high IQ society. His family revealed that they were was informed he was the youngest African-American boy to be accepted at the time. In a few short years, the youngster from Marietta whizzed through elementary, middle, and high school.
"He said, 'Mom I'm bored. This is not challenging,'" Claire recalled her son telling her. "'It's really not helping me grow in my learning, and I think I'm ready for college.'" Proficient in Spanish, French, and Mandarin in addition to his first language, English, Caleb enrolled as a student at Chattahoochee Technical College in Marietta, Georgia, this year and will graduate with a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering in two years, reports USA Today. When asked what it's like to be a freshman in college at his age, Caleb simply replied: "It was exactly how I expected it to be like, if I were 18 or something."
While his dad has to chaperone him on campus due to his young age, Anderson revealed that he finds it extremely challenging to be Caleb's study-buddy. "He has far surpassed me in math, so I can't help him anymore," he said. "Seriously! He's in calculus two now!" Caleb however, doesn't think he's extraordinarily smart. "I'm not really smart," he told CBS News. "I just grasp information quickly. So, if I learn quicker, then I get ahead faster." When asked about the experience of raising a child who got into college by age 12, Claire said: "I don't think anything Caleb has done has been normal for us."
"I have this distinct memory of going to a first-grade class and learning there, and everyone was way taller than me, because, you know, I was two. I could barely walk," Caleb said of his schooling, noting that middle school was awful. "The kids there, they kind of looked down on me, they treated me like I was an anomaly. And I kind of am." The teen revealed that he has accepted he is different from his peers, saying: "This is my life. This is how I am. And I've been living this way my whole life." Meanwhile, Georgia Tech's School of Aerospace Engineering already has its eyes set on recruiting the youngster and lost no time in giving him a tour of its facilities.
"He's a perfect candidate to come into our program and be very successful," said Professor Mark Costello, chair of Georgia Tech's School of Aerospace Engineering. "I would expect that he would be admitted, for sure." Caleb has two siblings, Aaron and Hannah — who are also gifted — and their parents want others to know that there are more like Caleb than they might think. "I think people have a negative perspective when it comes to African-American boys. There are many other Calebs out there. African-American boys like him," Claire explained. "From being a teacher - I really believe that. But they don't have the opportunity or the resources."
She added that their dreams for Caleb go far beyond grades and that they hope "to make sure that when he is an adult, he'll make a great husband, a great father, a great friend one day." Meanwhile, the teen hopes to continue his education at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute for Technology and eventually get an internship working for Elon Musk. "When I was like 1, I always wanted to go to space," he said. "I figured that aerospace engineering would be the best path."