17-Year-Old Becomes Youngest to Earn Doctoral Degree from Arizona State

Dr. Dorothy Jean Tillman II, a 17-year-old from Chicago, has made history by becoming the youngest person to earn a doctoral degree in integrated behavioral health from Arizona State University's College of Health Solutions, after beginning her academic journey at age 10 and defending her dissertation in December 2023. This remarkable achievement highlights the importance of early intervention, family support, and an unwavering commitment to education, inspiring young people from diverse backgrounds to pursue higher education. This description focuses on the primary topic (Dr. Tillman's achievement), main entities (Dr. Tillman, Arizona State University), context (academic setting), significant actions (earning a doctoral degree at a young age), and objective details (age, academic journey, dissertation defense) that will guide the AI in creating an accurate and meaningful visual representation of the article's content.

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17-Year-Old Becomes Youngest to Earn Doctoral Degree from Arizona State

17-Year-Old Becomes Youngest to Earn Doctoral Degree from Arizona State

Dr. Dorothy Jean Tillman II, a 17-year-old from Chicago, has made history by becoming the youngest person to earn a doctoral degree in integrated behavioral health from Arizona State University's College of Health Solutions. Tillman successfully defended her dissertation in December 2023 and walked at ASU's spring commencement ceremony on May 6.

Why this matters: Dr. Tillman's remarkable achievement sets a new standard for academic excellence and serves as an inspiration to young people from diverse backgrounds to pursue higher education. Her accomplishment also highlights the importance of early intervention and support in fostering exceptional talent, which can have a lasting impact on various fields and industries.

Tillman began her remarkable academic journey at the age of 10, entering college to study psychology. She earned a Master of Science degree in 2020 at just 14 years old. In 2021, at 15, Tillman was accepted into the highly competitive Doctorate of Behavioral Health Management program at ASU.

Family played a pivotal role in Tillman's drive for 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 explained. She also credits her own innate curiosity, noting, "I feel like that urge to learn something new just never didn't exist for me."

Dr. Leslie Manson, the clinical associate professor at ASU who oversaw Tillman's dissertation, described the teen as an "inquisitive" and "innovative" student. "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. "It's a wonderful celebration ... but this is still something so rare and unique."

In addition to her academic pursuits, Tillman is the founder and CEO of the Dorothyjeanius STEAM Leadership Institute, an organization that emphasizes the arts and STEM for youth. She wrote a journal article based on her dissertation and completed an internship at a university student health center as part of her doctoral studies.

As for her future plans, Tillman is taking time to explore her options and specific goals, but hopes to inspire other young people to continually learn and pursue their passions. "I'm really just grateful that the world is my oyster, and that I've done so much so young," she reflected. "Always remember that everyone has points in their life where they feel like they're figuring it out. And so figuring things out, not knowing what you want isn't a bad thing. But making the choice not to sit down and try to figure it out is."

Dr. Dorothy Jean Tillman II's achievement marks an extraordinary milestone, as the 17-year-old becomes the youngest person in history to earn a doctoral degree in integrated behavioral health from Arizona State University. Her inspiring journey highlights the power of curiosity, family support, and an unwavering commitment to education.

Key Takeaways

  • 17-year-old Dr. Dorothy Jean Tillman II earns PhD in integrated behavioral health from ASU.
  • Tillman is the youngest person to achieve this feat, setting a new standard for academic excellence.
  • She began college at 10, earning a Master's degree at 14 and entering a PhD program at 15.
  • Tillman credits family support and innate curiosity for her drive to learn and achieve.
  • She hopes to inspire others to pursue their passions and continually learn and grow.