A Child Genius Is Headed to College at 12 and Wants to Join NASA at 16

The sky is the limit for this aspiring engineer.
Loukia Papadopoulos

In October of 2020, we brought you news of child prodigy Caleb Anderson, 12, who had started his second year at Chattahoochee Technical College in Marietta, Georgia, studying aerospace engineering. Then back in July of this year, we reported on Laurent Simons who, at age 11, had risen in status to become one of the youngest-ever college graduates after earning a bachelor's degree in physics from Belgium's University of Antwerp.

If those two examples didn't make you feel like an underachiever, we now have news of yet another child prodigy. AP reported on Alena Wicker, a 12-year-old who has been accepted to Arizona State University (ASU) and who aims to become a NASA engineer by age 16.

“I always dreamed of being an engineer because, throughout my life, I liked building,” Wicker told Phoenix TV station KPNX.

Her passion for designing and engineering things was first showcased when as a child she produced impressive LEGO structures. She built complex creations that were hard to achieve for such a young person such as the Taj Mahal, the Disney castle, a NASA rocket, the Apollo 11, and the Millennium Falcon.

This last project was Wicker's favorite and she spent 14 to 15 hours over two days completing it. She barely slept as she was so dedicated to finishing the lofty project.

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Alena's mother said she felt compelled to support her daughter's early talents. “She just had a gift for numbers and LEGOs and science so I started nurturing that gift," said Daphne McQuarter. “At 4 years old she said, ‘I’m going to work at NASA and I’m going to go up there.’ She would point to the stars."

Alena will soon be double-majoring in astronomical and planetary science and chemistry at ASU and it seems she is well on her way to the stars!

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