Mikaela Irene Fudolig was only 11 yo when she entered the University of the Philippines in Quezon City; graduated Summa cum Laude at 16 and took her master’s and Ph.D. degrees shortly after. After teaching at the University of the Philippines Institute of Physics and becoming a Fulbright scholar in Economics at the University of California-Irvine, Fudolig has made her way toward law school.
She also received the Best BS Physics Student award and the Dean’s Medallion for Excellence in Undergraduate Studies at the UP College of Science, was shielded from public scrutiny and the ruthless glare of media as preconditions to her entering college at such a tender age.
The restrictions of the experimental program were meant to allow gifted children to enter the university without compromising their emotional and social development.
“It was a great thing that I was able to show people that it can be done,” she said of the Early College Placement Program (ECPP) in an media interview in 2007. Many gifted children end up discouraged or unproductive because of a dearth of programs to guide them and maximize their abilities, Fudolig said.
These whiz kids sometimes refuse to take required courses, claiming early mastery in these areas, or are simply interested in other things, she added.
“Many people think that a child, even if equipped with the mental abilities, is not emotionally prepared to enter college. I am glad to have proven them wrong,” Fudolig said.
“Mikaela could read and write in English and Filipino at 3 years old,” Fudolig’s mother recalled. But she made sure that the child still had her share of playmates and nursery games, she added.
At the age of 12, Fudolig was formally enrolled as a BS Physics student at the UP National Institute of Physics. She also took two consecutive music courses “because I just love studying different kinds of music in the world,” she said.
In her graduation speech after college, Fudolig focused on opening new opportunities for others, including gifted students like herself. “Instead of taking the road less travelled, the new graduates should make new roads,” she said in 2007.