Wednesday, April 16, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

15-year-old girl youngest student at Weber State

SALT LAKE CITY — Jessica Brooke has wanted to work in the medical field for as long as she can remember.

“In preschool, they asked us to dress up as what we wanted to be when we grew up,” she said. “My classmates would come as princesses or superheroes, but I came in scrubs.”

But few would have anticipated that Jessica, at 15 years old, would become a math prodigy and the youngest student ever to enroll at Weber State University.

“I love the experience. I love the friendships I’ve made. I love the challenges before me. I love learning something new every day,” said Jessica, who plans to apply to medical school before most students her age graduate from high school.

Her passion for learning, coupled with a tenacious drive to succeed, led her to score outlandishly high on math tests in elementary school. By the time she reached junior high, Jessica had mastered math concepts she wouldn’t be taught for two or three years.

At age 12, Jessica skipped the eighth grade and all of high school, enrolling in a local community college near her home in Gilbert, Ariz. She graduated with two associate degrees and a 4.0 grade-point average, and then began perusing universities across the nation.

When Weber State offered the then-14-year-old a full-ride scholarship, Jessica’s family decided to move to Utah – her mother’s home state – to be near the university.

“I could not do this without my family,” she said.

Jessica’s mother, Rachel Brooke, said learning always has been a priority in their home.

“My husband and I have always had high expectations of our children,” she said. “If you can get a child to think that practicing is normal, reading is normal and doing math for fun is even normal, there is no limit to their potential.”

Rachel Brooke attributed much of her daughter’s drive to her music education.

“Jessica started playing piano at 5 and cello at 8,” she said. “Those early beginnings of music taught her motivation and gave her something all her own.”

But Jessica never needed much encouragement, her mother said.

“Even as a young elementary student, she was demanding of herself,” Rachel Brooke said. “I’ve given her opportunity and maybe directed her in some way, but she really has done the work. She has the drive, even a work ethic that is off the charts, and we’ve merely been here to support her in that.”

On Thursday, Jessica milled about campus like any typical college student. Standing 5 feet 9 inches, with a backpack full of textbooks and weekends consumed by social events, it’s not obvious that she’s as young as the children of some of her nontraditional classmates.

Jessica is in her second semester at Weber State, set to graduate in 2015. She is working toward a double major in zoology and math, with a minor in music. She plans to continue on to medical school at the University of Utah or another school in Texas or Arizona.

“Jessica is just a wonderful student,” said her chemistry professor, Todd Johnson. “She gets right in there, is active and performs as well as any other student.”

Johnson was taken aback when reporters asked him about the 15-year-old.

“I didn’t know she was 15,” he replied, astonished. “I didn’t notice because her maturity level is equal to that of other students.”

Johnson said he would be interested to know about Jessica’s future aspirations.

“I could see her going on to graduate school or becoming a teacher one day,” he said. “Frankly, there’s really nothing she can’t do.”

Some have criticized Jessica and her parents, she said.

“When people find out I want to eventually go to medical school, they’re skeptical that I don’t have enough life experience,” she said. “But if the medical schools feel that way and I’m put off a few years, then I can go do something else. I’m not in a huge rush right now.”

Others have been concerned that Jessica is missing teenage rites of passage, but she isn’t concerned.

“I don’t think that I’m missing out on anything,” she said. “I’m still a teenager. I still do those same things. I still have friends my own age. I still act like a teenager.”

Jessica lives at home with her three younger siblings. Due to her age, she doesn’t yet have a driver’s license and isn’t allowed to date.

“I wish I could drive, but the time will come. I’ll get there,” says the girl who has gotten to many places quicker than most.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
 
 
Suisun police ID shooting victim

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 6 Comments

 
Solano Jews gather for start of Passover

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
 
County discusses consolidated dispatch

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Miner Slough Bridge to see repairs

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
‘Heaven is for Real’ opens Wednesday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B5

 
Fiesta Days pageant organizers seek contestants

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
Easter hunt set for Mare Island

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
Crews make quick work of vehicle fire

By Glen Faison | From Page: A6, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
Paper Clover Campaign supports Solano County 4-H

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

Coakley joins Solano fair board

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

 
Hundreds flock to Krispy Kreme as it opens doors

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B9, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
County to honor Solano educators

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

.

US / World

Officials: Huge San Francisco blaze was accidental

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
‘Shrimp Boy’ pleads not guilty in corruption case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Solemn tributes mark Boston Marathon bombing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Immigration activists urge Obama to act boldly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

Supremacist faces murder charges in Kansas deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Ukraine: Military secures airport from attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Democrats have outside money advantage – for now

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 3 Comments

 
First women move into Army platoon artillery jobs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Final deadline arrives for health exchange sign-up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

 
New LA newspaper embraces print in digital world

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Congress is giving states the transportation blues

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 2 Comments

 
Police: Suspects in killings wore GPS devices

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

DNA alternative to Pap smear sparks medical debate

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Robot sub returns to water after 1st try cut short

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Hamas praises deadly West Bank shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

 
2 dead after ferry sinks off SKorean coast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

.

Opinion

 
Oh, for the days of Dr. Welby

By Dan K. Thomasson | From Page: A13, 13 Comments

Poor Judgement in Flight 370 column

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

 
Senseless babble that hurts

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 2 Comments

 
Expand Red Top Road

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 2 Comments

Editorial cartoons for April 16, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A13

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
What love gives you

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

Today in History for April 16, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
A matzo ball soup fit for a weeknight dinner

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Saving carrots from their usual sugary Easter fate

By Sara Moulton | From Page: B6

 
Sweet pairings for grown-up Easter treats

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

My husband still pays his 45-year-old unemployed son’s bills

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

 
Horoscopes for April 16, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

Boston Globe wins Pulitzer for bombing coverage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Lindsay Lohan’s mom pleads guilty to DWI in NY

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Strahan’s ‘GMA’ side job confirmed with his visit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Cal hires Tennessee’s Cuonzo Martin as coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors trying to move on without Andrew Bogut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Sharks’ Torres uncertain for playoff opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Indians shut out Mustangs

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Ex-Minnesota State, Mankato coach returning to job

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Panthers jump Sabres to win NHL draft lottery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

More former players sue NHL regarding concussions

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
49ers sign WR Brandon Lloyd to 1-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

MLB marks 67th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Twitter buys data analytics partner Gnip

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Yellen signals more aggressive stance toward banks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

.

Obituaries

Carolyn McClelland

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Evonne Medina

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

.

Comics

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7