Seventeen-year-old Texas teenager, Salenah Cartier has made history in 2020 by becoming the youngest graduate from the University of Houston this year.


Raised by a single mother, Cartier graduated with two degrees under her belt and a message for the world, “anything is possible and to not let circumstances get in the way.”

Cartier was homeschooled full time after the 6th grade. With education as a top priority, she enrolled in a self-paced homeschool program where she sailed through her regular course work and graduated high school at the age of 14. What was next for her? Well, of course, college.

“I needed a new challenge, and attending college presented the perfect academic and social growth opportunity for me,” she said in an interview with Because of Them We Can.

The Texas native earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the UH College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. She will also receive a certificate in Corporate Entrepreneurship from C.T. Bauer College of Business.

Cartier’s mother is the strong guiding force in her life. “My mom would always say you have to figure out what you want to do in life and how you want to make an impact on the world,” she said in the interview.

The truly talented academic scholar’s dream is to help those who are less fortunate in society through education. Cartier wants to pursue a career as an educator, researcher, and policymaker to help disadvantaged children.

“I hope that my achievements are able to inspire [people] of all ages. It is never to early or late to pursue a goal. There will never be a perfect time to start a journey, but if you want to succeed, you just have to start. As long as you maintain an open mindset, you will learn on every step of the journey.”

Cartier has her sights set on obtaining her master’s degree from the College of Education’s Curriculum and Instruction program at UH and is also concurrently applying to various doctoral programs. 

“After I complete the master’s program, I will teach college level courses while attending a doctoral program. I would like to research the impact that early life exposure to adversity has on cognitive development.”

Congratulations, Salenah! The sky is the limit, and you are just beginning to shine. 

Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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