14-year-old boy set to graduate college, start job at SpaceX

Published: Jun. 13, 2023 at 12:52 AM PDT
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) - A 14-year-old California boy is about to become the youngest graduate in the history of Santa Clara University. Then, he’s off to SpaceX, where’s he’s been hired as a software engineer.

Kairan Quazi, 14, will graduate from college Saturday with a degree in computer science and engineering. The Bay Area native says he had a fairly normal college experience, despite his young age.

“There wasn’t anything to compare it to, say, ‘Oh, this is different.’ But I really enjoyed it. I made a lot of really close friends. I think after a few days, the novelty of me being there wore off,” he said.

Quazi’s parents say he was speaking in full sentences at 2 years old. Not only was his IQ seen as profoundly gifted, so was his emotional intelligence.

“During third grade, it became very obvious to my teachers, my parents and my pediatrician that mainstream education wasn’t the right path for my accelerated learning ability,” Quazi said.

He started at Las Positas Community College when he was 9 years old and transferred to Santa Clara University when he was 11.

“I went from being a third-grade mutineer to really feeling validated intellectually,” he said.

By the time Quazi transferred, he had already started working with Intel Labs as the only undergraduate intern on his team.

The 14-year-old says he is grateful leaders gave him opportunities to perform beyond his age.

“I think there is a conventional mindset that I’m missing out on childhood, but I don’t think that’s true. I think, again, that mindset would have me graduating middle school now,” Quazi said.

The Santa Clara City Council congratulated Quazi on Tuesday for his past achievements and his future ones.

“I would also like to compliment institutions like SpaceX and Intel, which took basically exceptional out-of-the-box steps to make sure this thing happened,” said councilmember Raj Chahal.

Quazi will be moving to Washington state with his mom as he joins SpaceX’s Starlink team as a software engineer in July. He says his mom has always been his biggest supporter.

“My journey wouldn’t have been possible if not for influential people and positions of power, again, looking beyond my age, but I would say my mom,” he said. “She’s been my rock through this entire journey.”