AP credit speeds up college experience


    By Marissa Young

    Melissa Mason is only 20 years old, and she”s already a graduate student.

    Mason completed a bachelor”s degree in biostatistics in December, and she is now working towards a graduate degree in statistics.

    Focus, foresight, and faith, as well as 63 AP credits, have helped Mason accomplish such success.

    Mason graduated from Central Kitsap High School in Bremerton, Wash., where she took nine AP classes and eleven AP tests. She entered BYU as a junior.

    She is currently serving an internship in Delaware and has six credits toward her graduate degree in the statistics program.

    “I took advantage of the opportunities that were offered,” Mason said. “I went to a great high school that offered a lot of programs to get ahead.”

    She said her parents were very supportive and BYU was helpful in accepting all of her AP credits.

    “Melissa manages her time well,” said Liz Mason, her sister-in-law. “She gets her work done and still finds time for fun.”

    It helped that she knew what she wanted to pursue when she came to the university.

    Mason received a letter from the BYU Statistics Department saying that she might be interested in the statistics program as a major, which helped her choose what to study by the time she arrived.

    “Melissa has always known what she wanted and worked hard to get there,” said Mason”s brother VerDonn, 22, a senior from Washington, majoring in computer science. “She”s been a tough act to follow and she”s my younger sister.”

    Mason does data analysis, power point presentations, programming, and visual basic programming for DuPont.

    She is presently exploring her love for data analysis and education, and plans on being a math teacher while serving her internship.

    She said she was inspired to pursue a statistical career because she always enjoyed math but felt like it was computing problems just to calculate. Statistics, she said, actually applies mathematical principals to something useful.

    She plans on serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and will turn in her mission papers this July.

    Her advice for anyone pursuing a post-bachelor”s education is to “find your niche and go with it. It would be a lot harder if I didn”t like what I was doing.”

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