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NC student started college at 12, now has Ph.D at 23

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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) — Nadine Nepper kept busy this holiday season, making sure everything in the house was perfect for her daughter's return from college. Julia Nepper is 23 years old and just earned a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. 

"I'm so proud of her," Nepper said. "All that hard work has paid off. It's hard to believe she was kept back in kindergarten that one year."

Nadine and her ex-husband knew their daughter was gifted at an early age. 

“We didn’t think she was being challenged enough,” said Nepper, remembering a time when the family lived in Burgaw.  “It was suggested if we wanted her to excel, we’d have to pull her out and homeschool her.”

That’s what the Neppers did for four years, and their hard work paid off.

“I was a know-it-all when I was a kid and I still am, but I tone it down a bit,” Julia said. “It came easy for me.”

Julia was just 12 years old when she began her higher education at Cape Fear Community College.

She went on to get her associate's degree at 14, her bachelor's degree from UNCW at 16 and now her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at 23.

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