Most 14-year-old’s are not obtaining three degrees before their 15th birthday, but most 14-year-old’s are not Chicago-native Dorthy Jean Tillman.


Tillman is unquestionably a child prodigy as she was talking by eight-months-old and doing math by the age of four. She started high school at the age of nine and then continued working towards obtaining her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in sustainable science and environmental planning. had the opportunity to speak with this amazing young person and discuss her accomplishments. Take a look at her interview in its entirety below.

What message do you want to share with other young people about their possibilities?

I think that my path isn’t for everyone. I think that the way I went about it from a young age and learning is something that we really should start integrating into schools. A lot of students over this quarantine have realized that maybe working online has been easier for them because they haven’t had the stress of being in the classroom. I know, one thing that I would want every kid to know, is that what I did is an option and that they can do it too. It doesn’t take a genius or someone who has been learning forever. I’m not perfect. I’m not the smartest person in the world. It just takes dedication.

How have you matriculated from high school to a master’s degree?

I started doing high school courses when I was around 9 years old. As soon as I finished those, mom was like “You want to go into getting an associate’s degree?” and I was like, “Why not?” So I was finishing up high school courses and starting with my associates, and I got that [degree] when I was about to turn 11. Moving on from there, since a lot of the associate course hours count for your bachelor’s, I had a good head start when I started my bachelor’s. By the time I was 12, I had my bachelor’s in humanities. Now I’m getting [confirmed] for my masters in August. The graduation was in May, but with quarantine, [now] August.

At 14 years old with a master’s degree in environmental science what’s next for you?

I’ve been working on STEM labs for kids because I really want to go into the STEM-related field and work with kids. I love helping kids have bright futures. I feel like I’m here to make people happy and to help people find their purpose. I know I want to go into that field, but I’m definitely sticking on the path of my engineering degree. I might go back to school, but my plan is to be an entrepreneur and [use] my engineering degree.

Whatever is next for this amazing young lady, we know that it is truly going to be outstanding!

Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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