Teenage Prodigy Graduates With Doctorate At Age 17

(Screenshot/YouTube/ ABC 7 Chicago)

Mariane Angela Contributor
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A 17-year-old prodigy from Chicago has achieved an academic milestone by earning her doctoral degree in behavioral health, ABC News reported Wednesday.

Dorothy Jean Tillman, who was homeschooled during her early years, entered college at the age of 10. Tillman completed her Master of Science degree in 2022 and by age 15 she was accepted into the Doctorate of Behavioral Health Management program at Arizona State University (ASU), according to ABC News. In December 2023, she successfully defended her dissertation, earning her doctorate in integrated behavioral health from ASU’s College of Health Solutions. Tillman participated in the university’s spring commencement ceremony May 6.

Tillman credits her educational drive partly to her family’s influence, especially her grandmother, a Civil Rights movement participant who emphasized the importance of education.

“People in my life like my grandmother, who was part of the Civil Rights movement, she of course harped on the importance of education and consistently learning something always,” Tillman said, ABC News stated. “But the way I always held education so high on my own, aside from being raised that way, was finding different things to be educated about.” (RELATED: American Chess Prodigy Settles Lawsuit After Rumors He Used Vibrating Anal Beads To Cheat)

Dr. Lesley Manson, a clinical associate professor at ASU, oversaw Tillman’s dissertation. Manson highlighted Tillman’s achievement as the youngest person in school history to earn a doctoral degree in integrated behavioral health.

“She really led change and worked on different forms of management to really reduce healthcare stigma and improve that student population there to be able to enter and accept student health services,” Manson said, the outlet reported. “It was wonderful to see her and help her navigate some of those personal and professional interactions and grow through those experiences.”

During her doctoral studies, Tillman authored a journal article based on her dissertation and completed an internship at a university student health center, where she led initiatives to reduce healthcare stigma and enhance student access to health services, according to ABC News.