Boca teen earns master?s degree
Published Sunday, August 13, 2006
by Nicol Jenkins
Arie Israel of Boca Raton has a Master's degree in mathematics and will attend Princeton University this fall working toward a doctoral degree.
Perspective arrives, however, when you add two digits to the equation.
Arie Israel is only 18-years old.
Israel was among more than 1,600 students to receive degrees from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton during three summer commencement ceremonies August 11. His was a Master's degree in mathematics.
College At 14
After finishing high-school level math ahead of his peers, Israel began taking college-level courses at age 14.
"I was home schooled and very interested in math and physics. I started going through math books really quickly and finished calculus at 13," Israel said. "I ran out of math to do."
That's when Israel came to FAU for dual-enrollment classes. Israel said he quickly felt at home at FAU.
"I really didn't have a problem adjusting. Though it was difficult because I've never been to a school in my life before," he said. "But I met a lot of friends and the age difference wasn't really an issue. A lot of my friends were older."
The only difference, Israel said was living at home and not attending parties like his older classmates.
"And I had to get a ride to school from my mom," Israel smiled.
Israel said Dr. Yoram Sagher, professor of mathematical sciences in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science guided him through his studies at FAU.
"My first semester was important," Israel said. "I liked the classes I was taking, and I got along with my classmates. That gave me the 'college experience' I was hoping to get."
Soon after Israel began his studies at FAU, Sagher and colleagues realized Israel could place out of the bachelor's degree program. He moved to have Israel admitted into the master's program in mathematics.
And this past December, Sagher arranged for Princeton University Professor Charles Fefferman, one of the world's top math analysts, to meet Israel. Fefferman was the youngest full professor in the United States at age 22 and won the Field Medal, the mathematics equivalent to the Nobel Prize, at age 28. Fefferman noted that Israel's knowledge and understanding of Real Analysis was that of a second-year Princeton graduate student and wrote Israel a letter of recommendation for Princeton's Ph.D. program. Isreal was admitted and will attend Princeton this fall.
Israel notes that the professors and students at FAU played a pivotal role in helping him take the next step of his life and career.
"Dr. Sagher was very important to my positive experience here at FAU," Israel said. "He taught many of my classes and introduced me to Dr. Fefferman. In addition to that, I met a lot of great people around campus and received a good education. This University had the balance I needed. I am very happy I chose to come to FAU and will always have fond memories of my time here."
Despite not experiencing typical college life, Israel said he has no regrets.
"I think that I made all the right decisions," Israel said. "And I'll have the real college experience at Princeton because I'll be 18, the normal age."
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