CLASS’ youngest graduate earns two degrees in two-and-a-half years

Ansiya Arakkal

Three years. That is how long 20-year-old Ansiya Arakkal gave herself to complete her degree once she graduated from high school.

This month, not only has she reached her goal, but she beat it. Arakkal is graduating with two degrees – one in psychology and one in computer science in only two-and-a-half years.

“I always wanted to graduate early so that I could work in the industry earlier,” says Arakkal. “So this accomplishment, in addition to having time to work on my hobbies and interests, is what makes me the happiest.”

Arakkal came to UH less than three years ago intending to major in computer science, but one psychology class changed the course of her academic career.

“I took one class with Dr. L.A. Witt and it led me to taking more classes in psychology. I loved each and every experience I had in those psychology classes. And when I saw that I could integrate psychology and computer science with artificial intelligence, I decided to get a double degree,” she says.

In order to graduate early, Arakkal took several summer classes and sometimes enrolled in six courses in one semester.

“My biggest challenges were trying to completely put all my effort into my classes. The other activities I had outside of class usually took up a lot of my time, so I needed to have all my deadlines in mind when I took part in activities,” she says.

After graduation, Arakkal intends to earn a few certifications in cybersecurity. Eventually, she plans to earn her master’s and doctoral degrees, and after working in the medical field and artificial intelligence, she hopes to share her knowledge with others doing research and teaching.