17-year-old engineer graduates from Cal State L.A.

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While most students her age are preparing to graduate high school, Alexis Kam of Studio City just became one of Cal State University Los Angeles’ youngest graduates of 2020.

The 17-year-old just earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and is off to begin her career at a Pasadena design firm. She hopes to help develop buildings with improved energy efficiency.

She skipped to college from the sixth grade at age 12.

“I was a pretty normal kid I would say. For me, it was just that I had a motivation to learn,” she said.

“All of my peers and professors, they pretty much treated me like an equal, and I really appreciated that,” she said.

Her mother, Cassie Kam, said she couldn’t be prouder.

“She starts something and she makes sure she finishes it,” she said. “Just her determination was one of the most amazing characteristics.”

Despite all her academic success, the rapid pace at which Alexis Kam meant that she has never experienced a graduation ceremony, she said. And due to the ongoing pandemic, she and her peers will not be able to participate in a traditional graduation ceremony.

“It’s definitely been a wild journey, totally unconventional, but for me, I feel like it’s been the greatest experience of my life,” she said.

Editor’s note: Cal State L.A. said Saturday that a younger student, Sarah Madira, has graduated from the college. This post has been updated.

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