Knicely Done: 15-year old earns master's degree from Bellevue University

Published: Jun. 20, 2019 at 9:43 PM CDT
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Marla and George Kostis of Ontario, Canada, had their hands full raising eight children.

When their ninth child, Kelton, was born, they quickly noticed some new challenges. Kelton started reading when he was 16 months old.

"Both of my parents were in education, and so was I," Marla said in a facetime interview with WOWT 6 News. "We decided to have him tested in Florida. The lady who tested him was a psychologist who had worked in the Florida education system for 38 years, and when she tested him, she said he tested above the 99.9 percentile."

Kelton showed an early interest in medicine, and a family friend gave him a large America Medical Association family guide.

"He not only read it he carried it around at three years old and was diagnosing us," she said. "Then, several years later, he enrolled in an independent robotics program with high school students and completed the program."

By age nine, Kelton was ready to pursue a college degree — and that's when his parents discovered the online program at Bellevue University. He graduated at age 12 with a degree in web technology.

"My goal was to earn a master's degree by age 14," Kelton said.

He did, receiving his master's in information systems management. He turned 15 just about a week later.

When asked about the difficulty, Kelton said: "It wasn't particularly challenging for me. The graduate degree was a little more challenging than the undergrad because there is more hands-on work involved, and it was more difficult to manage my time. But overall, I would say for me it was a fairly simple experience."

Along with his second degree, Kelton has received several job offers, but said he's undecided.

"I could go for a second master's or a PhD, but I'm really interested in cybersecurity," he said. "I'm just kind of taking it slow."

Kelton and his parents came to Bellevue for both graduations and enjoyed the experience.

"We had quite the trip, especially the open house the evening before," Marla said. "He was greeted by the president of the university, and the dean of his department. So we're just looking at what he's going to do next, and that will be his decision."

Kelton is aware of his unique abilities, and even though he's 15, he maintains perspective.

"I do feel a little bit separated from normal life because I don't go to school, and I don't get quite as much social interaction in that regard," he said. "But I do think that I'm relatively normal. Like, I've never thought that I have to bring myself down to anyone's level. I'm just normal, and honestly, I'm not that different from everybody else."

Knicely Done!