Talk about precocious. Natasha Verma, 17, Life Member, graduated Friday with degrees in broadcast journalism and biology. The Victoria native took her first college class at age 11 and hasn’t looked back since. On the Forty Acres, Verma founded her own talk show and breezed through double-major requirements in three years. She’ll soon move to New York City to start a master’s in broadcast journalism at Columbia. We asked Verma about the secret to her success.
The Alcalde: Why did you decide to start college so early?
Natasha Verma: I’m the type of person who’s always looking for a challenge, and high school wasn’t it. So I just did college and high school at the same time. When I earned my high school diploma, I also got an associate’s degree in science from Victoria College. I encourage anyone who wants a challenge to think outside the box and go for it. It just takes hard work and initiative.
Q: Why UT?
A: I’ve always had a passion for broadcast journalism, and UT is the place to go to study that! I started UT’s morning talk show, Good Morning Texas, on Texas Student Television. Producing that show has been an amazing experience. At SXSW, I’ve interviewed Will Ferrell, Blake Mycoskie (the guy who founded TOMS shoes), and Jon Landau (the producer of Avatar).
Q: What did you talk about with Will Ferrell?
A: His new movie, Casa de Mi Padre. He was goofy.
Q: Did you feel you fit in at UT, being so young?
A: Oh, absolutely. I have really supportive friends and family who believe in me. And I look older than my age, so that helps.
Q: How did friends react when you told them your age?
A: They say things like, ‘Oh my god, seriously?’ People are speechless when they find out. But I’m mature, I prove myself, and I work hard, so it’s not really a big deal. President Powers did send me a personal letter saying congratulations, though. That was a great example of why I love UT.
Q: What’s your ultimate goal?
A: I’d love to start my own show on television or online, or work as a media producer. I want to travel the world and tell people’s stories.
Photo courtesy Natasha Verma.