This 14-year-old Bay Area teen is about to graduate from college, work for SpaceX

ByLauren Martinez KGO logo
Friday, June 9, 2023
14-year-old Bay Area teen to graduate college, work for SpaceX
Bay Area teen Kairan Quazi is only 14 years old, but he will become the youngest to graduate from Santa Clara University and start working for SpaceX.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Bay Area native Kairan Quazi is an exceptional 14-year-old - next week he will become the youngest graduate in the history of Santa Clara University.

On June 17, Quazi will be graduating with a degree in computer science and engineering from SCU.

He can't drive or see an R-rated movie, but Quazi landed his first job as a software engineer for SpaceX which he'll be starting next month.

Quazi was born in Pleasanton. His parents say he was speaking in full sentences at two years old.

"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.

Not only was his IQ seen as profoundly gifted, so was his emotional intelligence. Quazi started at Las Positas Community College when he was nine years old and transferred to SCU when he was 11.

If you ask him - he'll say he's had a fairly normal college experience.

"There wasn't anything to compare it to say oh this is different. But I really enjoyed it - I made a lot of close friends. I think after a few days the novelty of me being there wore off," Quazi said.

MORE: 12-year-old breaks record as youngest graduate at CA community college, earns 5 degrees

At one point at Las Positas, Quazi was a stem tutor and became one of the most requested tutors on the staff.

Higher education was fulfilling to the young mastermind.

"I went from being a third grade mutineer to really feeling validated intellectually," Quazi said.

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

Quazi is grateful leaders gave him opportunities to see 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 and I don't think it makes sense for someone that's able to take rigorous graduate electives work in a prestigious co-op - I am joining SpaceX as a software engineer. I don't think it makes sense I would be trapped or that anyone whose abilities are beyond that to be trapped," Quazi said.

MORE: 'Beyond his years': 9-year-old boy graduates high school

On Tuesday, Santa Clara City Council congratulated Quazi for his past achievements and his future ones.

"In addition to you and your family who have given you all the space to grow like that, I would also like to compliment institutions like SpaceX and Intel that took basically exceptional out-of-the-box steps to make sure this thing happened," City Councilmember Raj Chahal said.

Quazi currently lives in an apartment with his Mom in Santa Clara. They will be moving to Washington state in July as he joins SpaceX's Starlink team.

ABC7 asked Quazi who has 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. She's been my rock through this entire journey and I know it's been very difficult on her as well. Again, now she's uprooting her life to move me to Washington. I'm eternally grateful for her," Quazi said.

On Saturday, June 17, 1,598 undergraduates will be receiving their degrees from SCU. This is SCU's 172 graduation ceremony.

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