Saturday, July 14, 2012
College Place A graduating student of the 2012 class at Walla Walla University received three degrees by age 21 and is heading to study law at Harvard University in the fall.
Nathan Reeves of Milton-Freewater graduated with a bachelor of applied science in mechanical engineering and mathematics, as well as a bachelor of arts in history. Reeves graduated from Walla Walla Valley Academy in College Place at 15.
Private schools were not unfamiliar to Reeves growing up. He skipped second, fourth, and sixth grade and attended public school only on half days to benefit from the advanced math classes available there.
Entering ninth grade at age 11 was actually a relief for him he said.
Reeves said, "I had a really hard time relating to kids my own age," Reeves said. "I didn't have a lot of friends until high school."
High school was a new realm for him. It was easier for him to make friends with older students, due to his advanced educational stage.
Reeves said he had a style of communication and thought process that made children his own age hard to socialize with. He said once he was in the larger and older age group at his private high school he finally found friends who could challenge him intellectually, which he said is an important aspect of friendship for him.
Since he found he was more comfortable spending his free time alone, reading and occasionally playing video games were relaxing for him. It wasn't until he started attending college that he found a way to regularly socialize in larger groups. The on-campus religious service "The Awakening" interested Reeves and he began helping in any way he could shortly after attending WWU. Reeves plays piano and guitar and was happy to offer his talents and any other assistance to the group every weekend.
Choosing to attend WWU was relatively easy for Reeves since his dad was already working in the information technology department. Reeves was familiar with the campus and knew the school offers a great deal of financial assistance to qualified students. Reeves received several scholarships and was able to graduate with a cumulative grade point average of 3.9 in June.
Unlike this summer, Reeves has spent every summer since he was 6 working at the family business. His mother's side of the family runs a fruit farm in Milton-Freewater. This year Reeves is interning at the Department of Energy Hanford site in Tri-Cities. He was referred to the internship by a professor at WWU and has spent his time at Hanford programming and building computers.
He said he's not sure if computer engineering is the career path he wants to follow but finds it interesting for right now. Whatever he chooses, something interesting and challenging that will make him feel fulfilled is what he said he hopes to end up doing in the long run.
Reeves said he's looking forward to the end of summer. He will move into his one-bedroom apartment in Cambridge, Mass., at the end of August.
He said he likes Cambridge so far because it looks and feels more like a small town, unlike nearby Boston. The changes of his big move are what he's looking forward to most, but Reeves did say he's a little nervous about leaving his hometown.
One positive aspect of leaving the area is the encouragement he's received. Reeves said he's had wonderful support from his family and his advisers and instructors at WWU.
"I am very proud of him, he has done extremely well," said Tom Thompson, WWU mathematics instructor and adviser to Reeves for one of his degrees. "He is very capable and will do well in anything he does. Harvard is lucky to get him."
Though Reeves is slightly uneasy about leaving his parents and 3-year-old sister behind to head to Cambridge, he maintains his excitement outweighs his nerves.
"The new experiences and people (at Harvard) will be a whole different and interesting thing in my life, I'm excited," he said.