Genius 17-Year-Old Becomes Youngest Person To Earn Doctorate From Arizona State University

A Chicago-area teen just made history as the youngest person to ever receive a doctorate degree from Arizona State University. Dorothy Jean Tillman II recently earned her doctorate at 17, making her the youngest student in the university's history to do so.

Tillman, who is also known as “Dorothy Jeanius” by those close to her, has a long history of impressive academic achievements. She was homeschooled for the first several years of her life, before entering college at the age of 10. She earned her bachelor's degree in humanities from Excelsior College in New York in 2018, which made headlines at the time. But Tillman wasn't done. She went on to earn a Master of Science degree in 2020 from the Unity College of Maine. Then, at the age of 15, she was accepted to the Doctorate of Behavioral Health Management program at Arizona State University. In November 2023, she successfully defended her dissertation, and just six months later, she graduated with a doctorate.

Despite her busy school schedule, Tillman still found time to dedicate to her other passions. She pursued dance and choreography and also founded the Dorothyjeanius STEAM Leadership Institute, which has the goal of helping youth in STEAM subjects—science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics. The institute has locations in Chicago and West Capetown, South Africa, allowing children around the world to have access to these resources.

Tillman's family has a long history of excellence and success. Her grandmother, who Tillman is named after, was heavily involved in the civil rights movement and instilled the importance of an education in her from an early age. By accomplishing such an impressive feat, Tillman is continuing her family's legacy, and proving what hard work and determination can do.

To watch Tillman's inspirational commencement speech, check out the video below.

Meet Dr. Dorothy Jean Tillman II, the 17-year-old who has earned her doctorate and made history as the youngest person to do so at Arizona State University.

Dr. Dorothy Jean Tillman II: Website | Instagram
h/t: [The New York Times]

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Sarah Currier

Sarah Currier is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Based in central Iowa, she is currently enrolled at Iowa State University and is working toward a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in English. She loves all things creative, and when she’s not writing, you can find her immersed in the worlds of television, film, and literature.
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