Education

Graduating from UC Davis at 15 is the latest milestone for this prodigy

The moment captured: 15-year-old graduates from UC Davis with biomedical engineering degree

Tanishq Abraham was just 7 years old when he took his first college course at American River College. On Sunday, June 17, 2018, he graduated with a bachelor's in biomedical engineering just days after his 15 birthday.
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Tanishq Abraham was just 7 years old when he took his first college course at American River College. On Sunday, June 17, 2018, he graduated with a bachelor's in biomedical engineering just days after his 15 birthday.

Tanishq Abraham was just 7 years old when he took his first college course at American River College and only 11 when he graduated with three associate's degrees.

Now he has accomplished yet another feat: graduating with a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering just days after his 15th birthday.

He graduated summa cum laude, by the way. And was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi academic honor societies.

"That was very exciting and it was a great event," Abraham said of his University of California, Davis, graduation ceremony on Sunday. "I’m very happy that I have graduated.”

His mother, Taji, said that her son has been through a lot to get to this point and described the ceremony as a very emotional and happy experience.

"It’s pretty impressive for a young kid like him,” said Taji Abraham, adding that the day was especially meaningful for her husband. "It was a pretty good Father’s Day gift.”

The last year of Abraham's undergraduate career was spent working with other students on a senior design project.

Abraham and his group designed a device that can scan for and detect a patient's heart rate without physically touching the person. The device is intended for use with burn victims, Abraham said, because any physical contact can increase the patient's risk of infection.

The idea for the project came from "Star Trek," which featured a device that could scan someone and immediately diagnose any ailment, Abraham said. The technology was something he had been thinking about for five or six years before he proposed it to his group.

While their design was much simpler than its cinematic counterpart, he said it won the Distinguished Innovation Award at the 2018 UC Davis Engineering Design Showcase.

This isn't the end of the road for what Abraham will likely accomplish in his young life.

While most teens his age are gearing up to get their driver's licenses, Abraham is setting his sights on earning his doctorate by the time he turns 19.

Abraham said he will continue his studies in biomedical engineering at UC Davis, though he isn't yet sure what his focus will be.

His interests have always been in cancer research and synthetic biology, Abraham said, and through the summer and next year he will rotate working in labs at the university that deal with related subjects.

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