A 12-year-old genius is well on his way to making his dreams of becoming an aerospace engineer a reality.
Caleb Anderson is already in college—while simultaneously earning his high school credits—and has his sights set on interning with SpaceX and eventually working for NASA.
Popular Mechanics spoke to Anderson to see what it’s like being insanely smart—here’s what he had to say.
In a lot of ways, Caleb Anderson is like any other kid his age—he enjoys swimming in his family’s pool at their home in Marietta, Georgia, he works his way through online schooling, and he’s fascinated by the idea of space travel. But there are a few things that differentiate the preteen from his peers in a major way: he’s lightyears ahead when it comes to actually reaching the cosmos.
How? Anderson is a genius. At merely 3 weeks old, he began mimicking his mother’s motions, which lead to her becoming certified in sign language.
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“I thought, though, that he wanted to communicate, but he didn't have a [means] or a way to do that. Then he started picking up sign language really fast,” Claire Anderson, Caleb’s mom, told NPR.
At 6 months, Anderson was reading, and by the time he was 9 months old, he already knew how to sign 250 words. It makes sense, then, that at 12-years-old, Anderson is now a sophomore at Chattahoochee Technical College with hopes of interning with Elon Musk at SpaceX and eventually working at NASA. Anderson has been making waves in the news lately for his incredible gifts and passions—CBS and People are among several publications who have covered Anderson’s story and ambitious plans.
Ever since Anderson can remember, he has been interested in outer space. He told Popular Mechanics that he would visit NASA’s website on a daily basis when he was younger to quench his thirst for news and knowledge about the goings on of outer space.
“There’s another world beyond ours and I want to explore it,” said Anderson, who hopes to become an aerospace engineer. “I want to go where not a lot of people have gone.”
Still, there are some places Anderson isn’t quite keen on visiting—Mars being one of them.
“Mars is a one-way trip,” Anderson said. “I’d rather stay on the ISS and do some research from there.” In order to reach the stars, Anderson is working hard; currently, his online workload includes studying calculus, U.S. history, humanities, and macroeconomics. Anderson plans to attend a prestigious college to realize his dreams; among Anderson’s top contenders for graduate schools is The Georgia Institute of Technology—colloquially known as Georgia Tech.
“They have a really good aerospace engineering program and they’re close to home,” he said.
If you ask him what it’s like accelerating through so many major milestones so quickly, Anderson remains unfazed, saying that it’s more or less normal for him since he’s been “like this” since birth.
“Decades ago, where we are now and the advancements we’ve made seemed impossible and now we’re here. Something’s impossible until it gets done,” he said.
Additional plans may see Anderson attending law school with the aim of becoming a judge. But for now, he’s set on finishing his current classes to get an associate degree while simultaneously getting his high school credits.
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