While other kids his age are preparing to enter middle school, 11-year-old William Maillis has graduated from St. Petersburg College in Florida with an “associate in arts degree,” making him one of America’s youngest recipients of a college degree.
This fall, Maillis is expected to start taking classes at the University of South Florida, another step toward his dream of becoming an astrophysicist. With the way things are going, it won’t take him too long to achieve that dream.
But what does this young boy, who was officially declared a “genius” by Ohio state psychiatrist when he was 5-years-old, want to do next?
“I want to prove to the world that God does exist through science,” says a beaming Maillis, much to the fascination of his father, who is an Orthodox priest.
While Maillis might have a lofty ambition, it would be interesting to see how he reconciles the idea of a scientific temperament with religious disposition — two ideas which have traditionally been incompatible with each other, as Patheos reports.
“He wouldn’t be the only person with a doctorate in science who believes in God — but some of them now work at religious institutions (like Answers in Genesis) where no other scientists take their work seriously. Others have successfully navigated high-profile jobs but it’s because they believe God and science are separate ideas that require a different set of rules.”
Whatever his ambitions might be, Maillis’ graduation is no small feat, as underlined by Dr. Tonjua Williams, President of St. Petersburg College, who said that his youngest ever student has an extremely sharp mind and he doesn’t ever reject ideas without reviewing them properly.
“I am totally fascinated by William and the work that he has done. He’s extremely brilliant, very open and collaborative.”
The child prodigy’s graduation may appear surprising to most, but his family and friends have always known that Maillis is a special boy. At age 2, he could do simple math, and when he was 4, Maillis could solve algebra problems. He graduated school at 9, and two years later, he is now a college graduate.
But no matter how brilliant his feat is, the 11-year-old wouldn’t get carried away. He said he is not special because every one of us has something special to boast.
We can only wish this 11-year-old genius all the best for his future endeavors.