LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Across Southern California, 18-year-olds are getting ready to graduate from high school, but one Pomona teen is instead a newly minted college graduate with a degree in biochemistry from Cal State LA.

Lily Nguyen walked the stage Tuesday, graduating summa cum laude in biochemistry with a double minor in biology and psychology. The bubbly 18-year-old graduate wore several cords of honor, plus an orchid lei, on top of her black graduation gown.

“Honestly, I’m just so stoked to be graduating and kind of moving on to the next chapter of my life,” she said.

Nguyen was recognized by Cal State LA President William Covino during the commencement ceremony.

“She enrolled at Cal State LA at the age of 13 through our early entrance program for exceptional youth,” Covino said to gasps of awe from the audience.

“It was such an incredible opportunity for me,” she said. “I feel very lucky to be able to be part of the program.”

Her parents were understandably proud, but the accomplishment left them in awe too.

“When I was 18, I just got out of high school. This is incredible,” her mother Lan Nguyen said.

Lily Nguyen says she and her friends will head out to Japan in a couple of weeks to do some traveling, before she takes on a prestigious fellowship at the National Institutes of Health.

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