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Math Major Takes Accelerated Approach To College

Dec. 9, 2013
SHSU Media Contact: Marissa Nunez

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Sixteen-year-old Megan Roddie has been seeking a curriculum that challenges her. She transferred to SHSU this fall after completing high school and her college core classes several years early and is now focusing on her major, math, and minor, computer science. —Photo by Brian Blalock

 

When most 16 year olds are busy getting ready for their sophomore year of high school, practicing for their driver’s test and worrying about who they might be taking to homecoming, Sam Houston State University sophomore Megan Roddie was busy filling out college applications and posing for graduation pictures.

The English-born math major and computer science minor always had a knack for learning and numbers. Growing up, she never liked doing arts and crafts or writing poems, but instead would rather spend her time figuring out a handful of math problems.

“Math has always been my thing,” Roddie said. “It’s the subject I’ve always been really far ahead in. I enjoy looking at difficult problems and trying to solve them.”

She moved from the city of Coventry to the northwest Houston suburb of Cypress 14 years ago after her father received a job and began her education at a public elementary school where she was placed in the gifted and talented program. She quickly excelled.

“I was pretty much ahead of all the students but still wasn’t getting hard enough material,” Roddie said.

Before beginning middle school she decided to leave the public schooling system to attend the Harmony Science Academy—Northwest Houston, a charter school dedicated to students interested in math, science, engineering and technology; however, the charter school was still not challenging enough for her and she became bored with the work given to her.

So in 2009, halfway through her seventh grade year, she switched from the charter school to full-time homeschooling with the help of an online program called the New College Preparatory Academy, a self-taught program, where students can work at their own pace with the help of an online mentor, who is there to make sure that the student is fully understanding the material being given.

“I would do the work in Word documents and email them to her,” Roddie said. “Then she would email me back with my mistakes and I would correct them and send them back to her.”

Two years after beginning the homeschooling program, Roddie began taking a dual credit class at Lone Star College to help her earn her high school diploma.

She graduated in December 2012 at the age of 16 and the following spring semester started working on her other college basics at Lone Star College.

She transferred this fall to SHSU after completing her basics over the summer.

In the beginning, she never thought about how early she needed to finish school early, but it is in her nature to push herself and she just worked at a pace that kept her busy.

“If I would have taken my time I would have gotten bored as quickly as I did in public and charter school,” said Roddie.

Altogether, Roddie had an overall total of 51 college credits entering her first year at SHSU, making her three credits shy of being a junior.

She chose SHSU because the university would take all her credits and for the proximity to her family.

“I really wanted to be close enough to home in case of an emergency or if I needed anything since I don’t have a car yet,” Roddie said. “I also liked how the campus isn’t really small, but it isn’t huge either. I didn’t want to go somewhere where the campus was massive with tons and tons of students.”

Once at SHSU and having already completed her core classes, Roddie began focusing on her major and minor classes.

“I’m taking 15 hours this semester and will be doing nothing but math and programming, so I’m excited,” said Roddie, who hopes to receive a master’s degree in digital forensics and go into federal law enforcement one day.

She said that her college experience has been everything she expected it to be so far, but socializing has been the hardest thing.

“I’ve been trying to find people my age who are ahead like I am but I’ve had no luck so far,” said Roddie.

However, she doesn’t let her age hold her back from going out and experiencing the many organizations, groups and entertainment SHSU has to offer.

She is a frequent visitor at the Recreational Sports Center’s rock wall and is a part of the Wesley Foundation’s intramural sports team. When she’s not scaling a wall, in class or studying for exams, you can find her in her dorm room watching Netflix, playing Minecraft or hanging out with her fellow teammates at the Student Methodist Center.

For some, being 16 and at college might be intimidating, but for Roddie it’s “just a change in things.”

“I’ve been at a community college for a while so it’s nice to be able to come to a big university and do some social things and take some classes,” she said.

To her, she’s just a regular student who just happens to be a little bit younger than the majority of the students at SHSU.

“A lot of people don’t expect to see someone so young,” Roddie said. “To some it is a big deal, but not to me.”

 

 

 

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