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North Carolina woman started college at 12, now has Ph.D at 23

WILMINGTON, N.C. — Most 12-year-olds are more worried about spending time with friends than starting college, but one North Carolina girl broke the mold and was able to graduate college and earn her Ph.D. by age 23.

When Julia Nepper was a child, her parents pulled her out of school and decided to homeschool her, WECT reports. After four years of homeschooling, Nepper attended college at Cape Fear Community College.

She went on to earn her associate degree by 14, her bachelor’s degree from UNCW at 16 and her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at 23.

“Most of the people I’ve met, in my life, could have done what I did if they had the right support,” Nepper said. “I don’t fault my parents, pushing me, with regards to my education. Clearly, I could handle it and it worked. So they must have done something right.”

Now, Nepper plans to experience the “real world” and look for a full-time job. She is considering looking for a job in Japan.

“I’ve been in college most of my life and I haven’t really been in the real world,” she said. “It’s exciting but actually scary to go out and get a job.”