At first glance, the Biology 1010 class at the University of West Georgia looks like a typical lecture room. Books are spread out across desks, a professor is teaching a new lesson, and students are jotting down notes on their laptops.
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But on second glance, you may notice an undergrad who seems significantly younger than the others. That's Kimora Hudson. She's 13 years old and the youngest student at West Georgia this fall.
It may be shocking to imagine a young teen roaming the campus, but for the Douglasville-native, she’s just “doing what comes natural.”
“I’ve always raised my hand first in class. That just felt normal to me. But when I started getting accepted into really advanced educational programs, I started thinking, ‘OK, I’m really smart,’” she told the AJC with a giggle.
Kimora is so intelligent that she was able to enroll into UWG's Move On When Ready/Dual Enrollment program, an academic acceleration initiative for 10th, 11th and 12th graders, as a 9th grader.
In about two years, she’ll be a high school graduate with college credits that will classify her as a junior.
Although the bubbly teen shies away from touting her achievements, her parents have been singing her praises for years.
“When she was three or four months, her doctors told me she would be a genius, because she started forming words very early,” her mother Fawn Hudson explained. “In pre-K, her teachers would tell me they had to bring in 2nd grade work specifically for Kimora. By the time first grade came around, it was just obvious that she was gifted.”
That's when Fawn, who works as a career development and mental health specialist, began signing her daughter up for a variety of fast-track curricula, including Duke University's Talent Identification Program, a month-long online learning session for 5th and 6th graders, and Vanderbilt University's Summer Academy, a week-long residential academic experience for advanced 8th through 12th graders.
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By the time Kimora reached the 7th grade, she was taking the college entrance exam ACT.
“Everybody taking the exam was in high school. I remember that we could take a snack, but nobody else had snacks. I was in the corner of the class eating my chips and everybody was looking like, ‘Who is this little girl,’” she laughed as she mimicked the noise of a bag opening.
Fawn wants to make sure her daughter is still able to enjoy adolescent activities such as noshing on snacks and hanging out with friends her age.
Most Fridays, the young MENSA candidate hits up the local high school football games with her girls, and on the weekends, she loves spending time with her church group and hosting sleepovers. She’s also a competitive swimmer.
“I’m a chill person. I’m still a normal 13-year-old. I still hang around my friends, because I need a balance. I just don’t see them everyday at school like before,” Kimora said.
Instead, the full-time student is trekking the UWG grounds two days of the week, taking biology, biology lab and public speaking this fall semester. But she’s not alone. Her mother, who has registered for sociology graduate classes there, is right by her side.
When the study partners aren't at school, they're hitting the books hard and seeking out internships. Kimora hopes to land a position with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the American Red Cross. And Fawn is gearing up to launch a mentorship program called YWait that will help other gifted girls soar academically and beyond.
Even though Kimora hasn’t declared a major yet, she has her eyes set on the science field. She’s considered becoming a marine biologist, veterinarian, surgeon or psychologist.
But no matter her decision, she is excited to be an example for other kids not only through her scholarship but also through her social media channels and blog, which documents her unique experience.
“People are so afraid to go out and try new things. I want to help bring a community together for young black women,” Kimora said. “I want to be an advocate for people who step out the box and express themselves. I’m going to keep going.”
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