Good Luck Brittney Exline!

Just spotted this AP article (by Kathy Matheson) about Brittney Exline:

brittney exline[…] at the age of just 15 she is beginning her Ivy League career Wednesday when classes start at the University of Pennsylvania.

Which is very good indeed, but I was especially pleased to see:

She excels at math and science and is really interested in politics, so she enrolled in a Penn program that will award her degrees from both the engineering and liberal arts schools when she graduates in 2011.


Have a look at the AP story for quotes, information about her background, other interests, and more.


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8 Responses to Good Luck Brittney Exline!

  1. Chanda says:

    Wow! I wish her the best of luck. It’s nice to see scientists who are staying broad and in touch with the humanities at such a serious level 🙂

  2. Yvette says:

    Interestingly, I will note that most kids I know who started college early end up doing a humanities/ science mix. For example, my standmate in orchestra during a part of freshman year was majoring in both chemistry and music, with a minor in physics, and was 13 years old!

    Oh, and due to a random series of events, looks like I’ll be declaring a history major in addition to my physics one later this term. (My friends joke that since I’ll be the most well-rounded person on campus since physics is the most basic science and history’s the most basic humanities subject.) I was too lazy to be much of a prodigy though. 😉

  3. candace says:

    Yvette: interesting! I did an English degree from 15 with biology minor (took a while to get around to going back for the physics). And come to think of it, the other 15 year old starter I’m friends with did chemistry and English. This is a very interesting pattern that I hadn’t noticed before (not a v. big sample size).

  4. Clifford says:

    Hi Yvette, Candace. That is indeed an interesting observation. Is it possible that this pattern is as a result of advice from others to “keep broad”, as people are perhaps uncomfortable with someone so young specializing so early? Or if not from advice of others, possibly one’s own internal state – “I love physics, but the classics are so interesting too, I can’t decide!”… maybe that sort of (healthy) indecision is still very strong when one is 15….?



  5. candace says:

    In my case, I really couldn’t make up my mind and had no idea what I wanted to do with myself (and I’m still figuring it out!). I thought I did (marine biology), but I enjoyed the English classes far too much…and they were easier. 😉

  6. Francis Caestecker says:

    Prodigies often have a hunger for intellect. I guess they’re scared that if they hit the “all-science” button, they’ll become a specialist, who only knows his own trade.

  7. Yvette says:

    In my experience science/music combinations are the most popular cross-disciplinary majors, and I think this is because of two reasons: music is intense in a completely different way than a second subject might be, and most kids coming from families that push them intellectually probably introduced them to music lessons etc at an early age.

    Second most popular second major that I’ve noticed after sciences has got to be English, candace. 😉

    And as for why I am doing the double major thing, well, to make it simple I always liked stories and I like to understand things. 🙂 I’m in the habit of thinking of physics as simply the biggest story I can think up, but I’d be a complete idiot to think that I could understand the world I live in by physics alone, so history keeps me grounded… I also confess I hate hate hate specializing, and am mildly terrified of the thought that I’ll need to specialize on something in graduate school. Right now I just tell people I’m interested in doing astrophysics, as that safely covers everything in the universe. 🙂

  8. Eddy Sypko says:

    wisdom can come at any age, look to the east…., to
    Tibet culture….learn to enjoy your challenge!