Meet Matthew McKenzie, the 14-year-old prodigy who graduated from high school and college on the same day. He is now set to pursue his PhD in Chemical Engineering at Georgia Tech.
Matthew McKenzie has always been ahead of his peers. He started reading at the age of two, took his first high school class at eight, and enrolled in college at 11. He completed his high school courses online while attending Chattahoochee Technical College, where he earned his associate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.
On May 10, 2023, he walked across two stages to receive his high school diploma and his college degree. He was the youngest graduate in both ceremonies.
“It feels amazing,” he said. “It’s something I’ve worked hard for and I’m glad I was able to achieve it.”
His mother, Monique McCord, said she noticed her son’s exceptional abilities when he was a toddler. She decided to homeschool him and provide him with advanced learning opportunities.
“I just wanted him to be in an environment where he could thrive and be challenged,” she said. “He’s always been self-motivated and eager to learn new things.”
McCord said she is proud of her son’s achievements, but also concerned about his social and emotional development. She said she tries to balance his academic pursuits with extracurricular activities, such as playing basketball and video games with his friends.
“He’s still a kid,” she said. “He likes to have fun and hang out with other kids. He’s not just a bookworm.”
Matthew said he enjoys being around people of different ages and backgrounds. He said he has made many friends at college, who treat him like a normal student.
“They don’t see me as a little kid,” he said. “They see me as someone who likes to learn and share ideas.”
Matthew said he plans to continue his education at Georgia Tech, where he has been accepted into the PhD program in Chemical Engineering. He said he wants to become a researcher and inventor, and contribute to solving global problems.
“I’m interested in renewable energy, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and anything that can make the world a better place,” he said.
He also hopes to inspire other young people to pursue their dreams and passions.
“Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or can’t do,” he said. “Just work hard, stay focused, and follow your heart.”