A couple of years ago, Curtis Lawrence III was the youngest first-year student to enroll at Florida A&M University in the institution’s history. He was 16 when he decided to pursue an education to become a paleontologist. Today, his younger brother is following in his footsteps.
Corey, who is 17, enrolled at the university as a physics and math major with a minor in Spanish. His dream is to become an astrophysicist.
“When I was a little kid, I really liked astronauts, space and the stars,” he told the Tallahassee Democrat. “Where we used to live, we could see a lot of stars and constellations in great detail in the night sky. That kind of love I had for space was nurtured at a young age, and that’s why I’ve always loved astronomy.”
Like his brother, Corey completed parts of his studies at a young age. He earned an associate degree before graduating from high school. The Lawrence brothers hail from a family invested in education. Their father is a principal of the IDEA Public School campus in Jacksonville, while their mother is an enrichment coach and learning specialist.
“It feels great to see that they take education seriously without us overlooking their shoulders — especially in a society where, too often, Black boys aren’t associated with high grades and being biology or physics majors,” their father told the news outlet. “Just to see that both of my sons are rocking it out and doing very well makes me extremely proud.”
Corey decided to pursue his education at FAMU after several visits to campus and after being inspired by his older brother, who is now 19 and a third-year student majoring in biology with a minor in Mandarin. Corey received over $900,000 in scholarships before enrolling at FAMU. He received acceptance letters from institutions such as Howard University, Morehouse College and North Carolina A&T State University, among others.
“It’s always great to be able to attract students of that caliber,” FAMU’s Vice President for Student Affairs William E. Hudson Jr. Hudson told the Tallahassee Democrat. “He could have gone to any institution in the United States. It’s truly a testament to the hard work of our faculty, staff, students and alumni to continue the legacy of FAMU.”
The Lawrence brothers often spend time together on campus. Corey said he has enjoyed FAMU’s social events, such as the recent homecoming festivities or the Battle of the Bands.
“Sometimes I’ll give him different tips to try to guide him, especially since this is his first semester on campus,” Curtis said about his younger brother. “But he doesn’t need a lot of guidance since he knows what to do.”