12-year-old boy tackling double major — physics and math — at Florida university
bachelor of science in physics and mathematics when he's 17. In addition to the double major, he also plans to minor in astronomy. He could finish earlier, but his family isn't in any rush for Sky to leave home for graduate school. He's set on the California Institute of Technology.
For now, his college experience seems to be everything he was hoping for.
"It's a comforting experience," he said. "Almost like a routine. It feels like I know the place."
After school, Sky trains and teaches at Team Taekwondo in Doral, Fla., which his father, Byung Sam Choi, owns and operates. On Thursdays, his mom takes him to Aventura, Fla., to play Go, a strategy board game.
And he devotes about two weekends a month to a charity he started called The List Kids, which supports children who are refugees from Iraq. His mom represents refugees through The List Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies, which aids those who are endangered because they helped the United States.
"Here he is doing something that few others are doing and he's doing it as a leader at such a young age," said Kirk Johnson, founder of The List Project.
Sky's age, and the difference between it and that of his fellow students at FIU, is not something that he dwells on.
"Doesn't even cross my mind," he said.
That's not uncommon for profoundly gifted students, said the Davidson Institute's Adrian. Often, they get along better with "mental-age peers" than people their own age.
Back in the game room at FIU, Sky fit in like one of the gang when he joined a pool tournament with his lab partners and then squeezed in some table tennis before Calculus II.
Student Aleks Mihailitchenko, 25, met Sky in the tournament for the first time. He thought at first that the 12-year-old was there on a field trip, but was impressed when he found out Sky's story.
"Maybe he'll cure cancer or solve the energy dilemma," Mihailitchenko said.
For now, Sky doesn't know what he wants to do as a physicist. He just knows the job would answer a lot of questions.
"When you learn physics, you know what's going on in the world," he said. "I'm very curious about how everything works."
© 2009, The Miami Herald.
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