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UCCS student breaks record graduation age

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Graduation season is upon us here in southern Colorado. Commencement for University of Colorado Colorado Springs is this Friday. And there's one special student who's reaching the record books when she crosses the stage.

"We have real numbers, rational numbers, complex numbers," says Annike Mote.

This kind of math might be hard at any age. But for Annika Mote, who's a senior math major, it's just another day studying her notes. The only difference between Mote and her classmates at UCCS also has to do with numbers.

"I got asked very consistently if my mom worked on campus or if I was lost," says Mote. "It's the second week of me sitting next to you in your math class I am not lost, I go here."

Mote is only 17. Most people haven't even graduated high school at her age. She beats the record at UCCS for youngest undergrad graduate in program history but 17 days. For this mathematician, 17 might just need to be her new lucky number.

"The age thing definitely comes up," laughs Mote. "When I was younger when I started college it was very obvious. I had gaps in my teeth and braces and looked 12 because I was 12."

Mote finished high school at 12, but stayed enrolled through a special program working towards college credits. She started at Pikes Peak State College and has been at UCCS the last three years. Impressing students and professors along the way.

"She's very bubbly, very full of energy," says George Rus, PhD, Principal Math Instructor and Assistant Dean. "The thing that stood out to me the most was the fact that at the end of class she was kind of staying behind and I didn't know why. We got to talking and I found out that she actually was not 16 yet and couldn't actually drive. It made me chuckle a bit and appreciate her more."

"It has mostly been a topic of jokes which I find perfectly funny because it is funny to have your mom drop you off at your senior or junior year of college," says Mote. "I still don't have my license, I am working on it."

In addition to getting that drivers license, she also has to juggle normal teenager things. Working out, homework and a busy social life.

"My parents are trying their absolute best to make sure I don't miss out on some things and that I don't miss our on the college experience either which is kind of a balancing act because there are some things I am not old enough to do," says Mote. "I went to a party a couple weeks ago with my friends that my parents fully knew about."

Now onto her last finals and papers of her undergrad, Mote is looking towards summer.

"Having what I've hear others refer to as senioritis," says Mote. "While I love math, there comes a point where it's too much math. You can only do so much math for so many hours a day without it all just blending together into a mush of numbers and symbols."

Putting all the numbers behind her might be the biggest math problem yet. But Mote knows after all her hard work, the opportunities will continue after she gets her diploma.

"I think I am going to miss it," says Mote. "I know how to sit in a classroom, I don't know how to go to job interviews or work at a job. "

Mote says she's ready for a relaxing summer and getting her first job. She has contemplated grad school, and says that's not off the table, but she needs to find her rhythm outside of the classroom for a while.

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Brynn Carman

Brynn is an anchor on Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about Brynn here.


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