North Carolina Woman Who Began College at 12 Receives Doctorate at 23

Julia Nepper (WECT screenshot)

Julia Nepper was just 12 years old when she began attending community college in Wilmington, N.C.

The precocious and gifted young lady had been homeschooled for the previous four years because her parents realized that she was not being challenged in the traditional classroom.


Nepper went on to receive her bachelor’s degree at 16 and, most recently, her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at 23.

“I’m so proud of her,” her mother, Nadine Nepper, said, according to WECT-6. “All that hard work has paid off. It’s hard to believe she was kept back in kindergarten that one year.”

Julia Nepper at 12, when she first started college (WECT-6 screenshot)

“Most of the people I’ve met in my life could have done what I did if they had the right support,” Julia Nepper said. “I don’t fault my parents pushing me, with regards to my education. Clearly, I could handle it and it worked. So they must have done something right.”


The outlet reports that Julia wants to leave the U.S. and work in Japan.

“I’ve been in college most of my life and I haven’t really been in the real world,” Nepper said. “It’s exciting but actually scary to go out and get a job.”


We’re betting she’ll be just fine.

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Angela Helm

Ms. Bronner Helm is a Contributing Editor at The Root. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.