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To Oxford: Chezum begins PhD work at 21


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Originally Posted Online: Aug. 02, 2010, 12:00 am
Last Updated: Aug. 02, 2010, 12:22 am
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By Todd Welvaert, twelvaert@qconline.com

She's like a lot of college kids at 21. She's looking forward to getting back to school, getting her degree and getting a job.

Except TiffanyChezum's already finished with her undergraduate degree, her masters too. At 21, a time when a lot of college heads are still slogging towards their undergraduate, she's heading off to the University of Oxford in London, to start work on her PhD.

It's not much of a surprise for the people who know her. Ms. Chezum, of Rock Island, started Augustana College at 15. She started kindergarten at 2.

"I'm excited to get back, being home has been nice but since I was a little kid I wanted to go to Oxford, that was it for me, Oxford," Ms. Chezum said.

Mom's pretty excited too. Ms. Chezum won the prestigious Clarendon Scholarship which pays tuition, room and board, and living expenses. She also won a Fulbright Scholarship that will cover her travel expenses.

She will continue her work in archaeology, but will be focusing on late Egyptian art history. She hopes to end up working in a museum, or with UNESCO, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization. UNESCO's mission includes managing world history sites and fostering appreciation and understanding among countries through science and humanities.

"Archaeology's kind of always been it, I decided that's what I wanted to do when I was 10," Ms. Chezum said. "I just got back from a dig in Jordan, it was a bath house. No gold, but a few interesting bone fragments. It's not like "Indiana Jones.'"

The dig was part of a college class from Queens University, one of Canada's leading universities, where she got her master's. She started in September, 2008, after graduating from Augustana College.

"She's really driven," her mother, Alice Baldwin, said. "She always has been."

After the dig, Ms. Chezum backpacked around Egypt for two weeks with some friends.

"We went to Cairo and saw the pyramids of course, then we went to Luxor, Valley of the Kings, King Tut's tombs, the Aswan Dam," she said. "I've been studying Egypt all my life, so I'm kind of nerd about it."

Some of her professors are surprised when they find out her age, but none express concerns about her ability to do the work.

"When I was 13, I took some college classes and a couple of the professors expressed concerns about me being there and if I was ready," she said.

"Butsince then, I haven't had a professor say anything. I think I've proven I can do the work."






















 



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  Today is Saturday, Sept. 20, the 263rd day of 2014. There are 102 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Recruits can get $500 by enlisting now. Lt Jobe has a recruiting office on Illinois Street.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Superintendent Schnitger formally inaugurated the Rock Island and Davenport Railway Line of the Holmes system by putting on four cars to start.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Wires of the defunct Union Electric Co. are being removed by city electricians.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The Bishop Hill softball team won the championship in WHB"S Mississippi Valley tournament at Douglas Park.
1964 -- 50 years ago: A boom in apartment construction has hit Rock Island, with approximately 300 units either in or near the construction stage or due for an early rezoning decision.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Members of the Bi-State Metropolitan Planning Commission are hoping to revive their push for a new $70 million four-lane bridge spanning the Mississippi River.






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