A 17-year-old Chicago teen who began college at the age of 10 now holds a doctorate degree

Dorothy Jean Tillman II recently celebrated her participation in Arizona State University’s commencement on May 6. This milestone represents a significant achievement in her ongoing pursuit of higher education, a journey that began when she enrolled in her first college course at the young age of 10.

Associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees were obtained during this period.

When Tillman defended her dissertation in December, she achieved a remarkable feat by becoming the youngest person, at the age of 17, to earn a doctoral degree in integrated behavioral health at Arizona State. According to associate professor Leslie Manson, who spoke to ABC’s “Good Morning America” for a story on Monday, Tillman’s accomplishment is truly commendable.

“It’s an incredible celebration, and we are hopeful that Dorothy Jean’s story will serve as inspiration for more students,” Manson expressed. “However, it’s important to acknowledge that this occurrence is still incredibly rare and distinct.”

Tillman, who is fondly referred to as “Dorothy Jeanius” by her loved ones, happens to be the granddaughter of former Chicago Alderwoman Dorothy Tillman.

Tillman’s educational journey took an unconventional path as her mother registered her for classes at the College of Lake County in northern Illinois while most of her peers were still adjusting to middle school. In 2016, Tillman successfully obtained her associate’s degree in psychology, marking a significant accomplishment in her academic pursuits (source).

Tillman completed her bachelor’s degree in humanities at Excelsior College in New York in 2018. Afterward, she pursued a master’s degree in science at Unity College in Maine, which she successfully obtained two years later. In 2021, Tillman was admitted into Arizona State’s Behavioral Health Management Program.

Read More:  Houston mayor presents budget without any new taxes or fees after inheriting a challenging situation

Tillman completed the majority of her classwork through remote and online platforms. However, she did have the opportunity to attend her Arizona State commencement in person and deliver a speech to her fellow graduates.

According to Tillman, her educational pursuits and successes can be attributed to the guidance of her grandmother and her trust in her mother’s advice.

Tillman, now 18, reflects on the attention they received and remarks, “At the time, everything we were doing seemed normal and ordinary to me. It was only when it started gaining attention that I realized it was out of the ordinary.”

However, sacrifices have been made along the way.

“I missed out on the typical school experiences like homecoming dances, spirit weeks, and school pictures that help foster a sense of unity among my peers,” she shared.

Tillman has managed to make time for her passion for dance and choreography. Additionally, she is the founder and CEO of the Dorothyjeanius STEAM Leadership Institute, which offers summer camps aimed at supporting young individuals in the fields of arts and STEM subjects.

In her statement, Tillman expressed her intentions to engage in public speaking events and actively raise funds for the camp. She also mentioned her long-term goal of eventually expanding the camp through franchising.

According to Manson, Tillman is a motivated individual with a knack for innovative ideas. Manson further emphasized that what is truly inspiring about Tillman is her embodiment of the true qualities of a leader.

Jimalita Tillman admires her daughter’s impressive ability to handle herself and showcase her achievements with grace. What impresses her even more is her daughter’s understanding of when to prioritize her education over social events. Tillman believes that this balance demonstrates maturity and a strong sense of self.

Read More:  Brother of Michigan lawmaker fatally shot, according to sheriff

Leave a Comment