17-Year-Old Graduates With Doctoral Degree


17-year-old Dorothy Jean Tillman, from Chicago, Illinois, has graduated from a university. This comes after she received her doctoral degree.

On May 6, Tillman graduated from Arizona State University. She had achieved a great accomplishment of earning a doctoral degree in Integrated Behavioral Health.

At just 8 years old, Tillman began dual enrollment for high school classes. This was prior to earning her associate’s degree in psychology from the College of the Lake County at 10 years old. Tillman also earned her bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Excelsior College when she was 12.

“… I always held education so high on my own, aside from being raised that way…,” she expressed. “I feel like that urge to learn something new just never didn’t exist for me,” Tillman said.

At the age of 14, Tillman received her master’s degree. A year following that, she was accepted into the Doctorate of Behavioral Health Management program at ASU. Tillman reached another great accomplishment of defending her dissertation in December 2023, becoming the youngest person to do so at the university.

“It’s a wonderful celebration… but this is still something so rare and unique. She has innovative ideas and motivation which is wonderful, and truly, I think what is inspiring is that she embodies that meaning of being a true leader,” stated Dr. Lesley Manson, a clinical associate professor at ASU.

In regards to what Tillman has next to accomplish, she says she is still trying to determine what her specific dreams and goals are just like any other 17-year-old. “I’m just really grateful that the world is my oyster, and that I’ve done so much so young. And I have time to kind of think that through.”

Tillman did say that in the future, she desires to establish several fundraisers and partnerships. This would be for her DorothyJeanius STEAM leadership institute.

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