Harvard’s youngest graduate is 16


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Sixteen-year-old, Eugenie de Silva, just walked for her second master’s degree at the commencement ceremony on May 28 at Harvard University.

Eugenie, who has been featured in the media around the globe due to her academic world records, completed a second master’s degree in liberal arts in extension studies with a concentration in legal studies (ALM) from Harvard University’s Division of Continuing Education.

By receiving this degree, Eugenie now holds the record for being the youngest to graduate from any division of Harvard University, especially with a master’s degree. Eugenie is the daughter of Professor Eugene de Silva, who regularly holds events for students in Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia to learn physics and chemistry through martial arts and now performs these shows at Wonderworks in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

At 13 years old, Eugenie began her master’s level courses toward her degree, while simultaneously completing her Bachelor’s in Intelligence Analysis at 14 years old and a Master’s in Intelligence Studies at 15 years old from the American Military University (AMU) where she earned perfect GPAs.

Eugenie’s thesis for her ALM degree pertained to an analysis of Edward Snowden and his actions; she felt that although her master’s focused on legal studies, she wanted to take a multidisciplinary approach to also focus on the intelligence field, which is her main passion.

While she has now successfully completed her second master’s, her academic pursuits are still not over. At fifteen years old, Eugenie began her Ph.D. in Politics with a focus on intelligence studies and denial and deception at the University of Leicester, England under the supervision of Professor Mark Phythian. Accordingly, Eugenie holds the world record for being the youngest Ph.D. student in politics at fifteen, and the United Kingdom’s youngest to read for a Ph.D. in any field at 15. Eugenie has now completed all modules for her Ph.D., and is in the process of conducting research toward her final thesis.

Eugenie understands that many members of the public question whether a teenager could adequately be involved in the intelligence field; in response, Eugenie makes clear that she is not an average teenager and has been raised in an environment where analytical discussions of security matters were always the norm. She mentions that since she was 9 months old, her father travelled with her across the globe to underprivileged areas, and showed her the disastrous effects of terrorism and criminal activities. To further prove her devotion to her field, Eugenie independently travelled abroad and interviewed a terrorist of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to apply her own model that she developed to detect individual-level deception.

In addition to her academic ventures that are seemingly never-ending, Eugenie is also currently the editor of an academic book titled, “National Security and Counterintelligence in the Era of Cyber Espionage.” The foreword for this book was written by General Keith Alexander (former NSA Director), who Eugenie met during her first master’s commencement ceremony at AMU. She is also the co-editor of another book, “Applying Methods of Scientific Inquiry into Intelligence, Security and Terrorism Studies,” while also acting as the invited guest editor for a special issue on cyber espionage and cyber warfare in the International Journal of Public Administration in the Digital Age.

Eugenie is currently a World at School global youth ambassador, adjunct faculty for a state college, founder of a non-profit to help children who have proven their abilities at a young age (International Association of Child Prodigies), lifetime member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Golden Key International Honor Society, a Luce Leader of 2015 by the James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation whose founder’s family was vital in founding Harvard University, and a part-time model having recently been featured in Sri Lankan and international magazines for a fashion boutique in the country.

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