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Cal State L.A.’s youngest graduate, 17, off to Princeton for Ph.D. in cosmology
Kulier, one of 22 Early Entrance Program students to graduate this year
While most of her contemporaries are finishing high school, 17-year-old Andrea Kulier—the youngest graduating senior at Cal State L.A.—is heading to Princeton University this fall to pursue a Ph.D. in theoretical cosmology.
Admitted to the Princeton astrophysical sciences department with paid tuition and $33,000 fellowship, she was also accepted to doctoral programs at UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, Harvard, UC Santa Cruz, Caltech, and the University of Chicago.
Through the University’s Early Entrance Program (EEP), Kulier was admitted to Cal State L.A. at the age of 12. Kulier, graduating summa cum laude with dual bachelor’s degrees in physics and mathematics, will be marching at Cal State L.A.’s Commencement ceremony Saturday, June 13.
As part of the University’s Consortium for Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) program, Kulier studied the theory behind star formation with Cal State L.A.’s Professor Susan Terebey. Under the mentorship of Terebey and Professor Jianyu (Jane) Dong, she researched the application of Support Vector Machine (SVM), a classification algorithm, to large catalogs of astronomical objects. Kulier was also part of a nuclear-physics research team led by Cal State L.A.’s Professors Konrad Aniol and Martin Epstein.
Kulier said, “At first, I had concerns about making the transition from middle school directly to university, but the support from EEP and the Cal State L.A. faculty quickly made me confident in my decision. During my study here, I developed my interest from a general one in physics and mathematics to a desire to study theoretical cosmology. After graduate school, I hope to become a researcher in this field within an academic setting.”
Kulier served as recording secretary for the General Education Honors Club and event captain for the 2009 Science Olympiad. Recipient of the 2006 Ted C. Bradbury Memorial Award in Theoretical Physics and several scholarships, she is also a member of the Society of Physics Students and the American Astronomical Society. She also enjoys skiing and attending classical music concerts and opera.
Currently a resident in the city of Placentia, Kulier and her family immigrated to the U.S. from Croatia 13 years ago.
Cal State L.A.’s EEP admits extraordinarily gifted youngsters—some as young as 11—directly into college, providing the early entrants with monitored evaluation, regular counseling sessions, and the opportunity to study with like-minded peers. Kulier is among more than 20 other EEP graduates receiving their baccalaureate degrees this year.
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