By Michael Abeyta

GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4)– On a warm spring Colorado day at the Colorado School of Mines, graduates are filled with hope for the future. One of them however is taking a much different path than his peers.

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“I skipped out on my senior year of high school,” says Arthur Harris.

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No, Arthur Harris of Louisville wasn’t a bad student, in fact, quite the opposite. He skipped out because at the age of 16 he started his unique college career at the School of Mines. It was a different experience than the one his peers had.

“I had to get all of my parental permission if I wanted to go on a little trip. If I wanted to go into the lab I had to get them to sign off on everything. So that was a big difference,” says Arthur. “And even now all my friends are going out to the bar for pint night and stuff and I’m sticking around at home.”

Friday he graduated Cum Laude at 19. He has a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, but what will he do with it? “Not chemical engineering actually,” he insists.

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Instead, he fell in love with Data Science as a hobby.

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“It’s really interesting,” Arthur says. “Just having a huge list of numbers and being able to find something that really means something, that could be important or could make lots of money.”

Pouring over large amounts of data is not his only hobby. He also climbs mountains.

“I grew up in the North East so I started in the White Mountains. I climbed all of those, then I went out to Colorado. I climbed all the fourteeners when I was 12, then moved onto bigger and better things. Went down to the Andes and climbed a bunch of 20,000-foot peaks down there,” he says.

After graduation, he’s leading an expedition to Denali, a mountain he has already climbed. He’s not in a hurry to get a job though. He wants to keep exploring and learning.

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“I’m actually sticking around for two master’s degrees. One in data science, one in computer science so I can go into that field,” Arthur says with a grin.

Michael Abeyta