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East TN 14-year-old graduates college, begins master's at Harvard

11:53 PM, Jun 4, 2013   |    comments
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You'll find Eugenie de Silva, like most teenagers, behind her laptop or playing sports. But she's got more on her plate than the typical 14-year-old from Harrogate.

"I've already completed the first assignment for my class this summer," de Silva said.

Her class is not for a high school or even middle school curriculum. She's taking a graduate research class to start her master's degree at Harvard University.

"I would probably be in 8th grade but I'm currently doing master's level work at Harvard University," de Silva said.

She graduated high school three years ago. In a couple weeks she'll be walking at her college graduation ceremony from American Military University.

"I'm very excited!" she said showing off her cap and gown.

After that she and her dad are moving to Boston for a while to start her master's in legal studies at Harvard with classmates in their 20s and 30s.

"It was always my dream to go to Harvard. When I walked on campus, it was magnificent for me," she said.

Eugenie has never made below an "A" grade and she's also published a book with her dad.  All of the hours of studying and conducting research have a specific purpose.

"I want to be an intelligence agent for the U.S. government and then the Secretary of Defense, but that comes later," de Silva said. She also wants to add criminal defense attorney to her resume.

Her goal was inspired and encouraged by her dad, a professor of physics and chemistry at Walters State Community College and founder of the Virginia Institute of Research.

"Before she could write she could type," said Eugenie's dad, Dr. Eugene de Silva. "I recognized her talent at an early age and began teaching her subjects."

But the single dad stresses that hobbies and a life outside of studying are important.

The duo goes to the movies every weekend. Eugenie plays soccer and the piano, which she taught herself to play.

"She likes to play pranks," Dr. de Silva said, laughing.

Still, she's very serious about her studies. She plans to get a second master's, a doctorate and a law degree before she's finished with school.

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