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Tuesday, May 14, 2024

18-Year-Old Black Teen Makes History, Graduates With Doctorate Degree

Dorothy Jean Tillman

Nationwide — Meet Dorothy Jean Tillman, an 18-year-old African American teen from Chicago, who has graduated with a Doctorate Degree in Behavioral Health from Arizona State University. This is the fourth college degree that she has earned since she began her college journey when she was just 10 years old.

“I never really thought that this would be like what it turned into,” Tillman told 11 Alive. “But once I started, you know, getting into higher education, I kind of just, every time I completed something, I thought, like, ‘What’s next?’ And now I’m here. Wow.”

After being homeschooled by her mother, Tillman had an early start to college. At just 11 years old, Tillman earned her associate degree, followed by her bachelor’s degree at 13 years old, and her master’s degree at the age of 14.

Her determination and passion for learning led her to pursue her doctorate, which she obtained when she was only 17 years old after successfully defending her dissertation, according to Black Enterprise.

Tillman’s research focused on reducing the stigma surrounding mental health services among college students, emphasizing the importance of outreach and education programs.

Beyond her academic achievements, Tillman has also founded a leadership institute aimed at educating children in Chicago and West Africa in STEM fields.

“I want to find a way… and start putting maybe integrated behavioral health into schools so people can start learning about such an important thing a lot younger, and that connection a lot younger,” she said.

Most recently, Tillman was among more than 7,000 postgraduate degree recipients at Arizona State University’s recent graduation ceremony, which celebrated the achievements of over 20,000 students culminating in their undergraduate journeys.

Moreover, Tillman expressed gratitude for the online program at ASU that supported her ambitions.

“It’s normal if, you know, you think you have it figured out, and then you find out shortly after that that may not be the case,” Tillman said. “Pace. It happens a lot throughout life, and it’s just like a part of the process. And to not forget that as you’re going through it.”