A Chicago teen entered college at 10. At 17, she earned a doctorate.

Written by on June 2, 2024

Dorothy Jean Tillman II, a Chicago native, made history by becoming the youngest person to earn a doctoral degree in integrated behavioral health from Arizona State University at age 17. Tillman’s remarkable academic journey began at age 10 when she took her first college course. She earned an associate’s degree in psychology in 2016, a bachelor’s in humanities in 2018, and a master’s in science by 2020. Despite the sacrifices of missing typical school experiences, Tillman thrived academically, culminating in her doctorate and convocation speech at commencement (see below). Known as “Dorothy Jeanius,” she also founded the Dorothyjeanius STEAM Leadership Institute, which offers summer camps focused on arts and STEM education. Tillman attributes her success to her family’s support and aims to inspire others through public speaking and expanding her educational programs.


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