Congratulations are in order for Dorothy Jean Tillman II as the teenager has just made history as the youngest person in the country to earn a doctoral degree.

Earlier this month the young scholar walked across the stage at Arizona State University, (ASU), receiving her doctoral degree in integrated behavioral health.


After successfully defending her dissertation in December of 2023, this exciting milestone not only makes Tillman the youngest person in the country to receive a doctoral degree, but it also makes her the youngest environmental and sustainability scientist in the country. As a result of this, Tillman is now the nation’s youngest Doctor of Behavioral Health Management.

“[Tillman] 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,” ASU associate professor Leslie Manson, who oversaw Tillman’s dissertation, told The Guardian in an interview.

The Chicago native began her college career at the age of 10-years-old. Tillman earned her associate degree from College of Lake County in 2016, she earned her bachelor’s from Excelsior University in 2018. In 2020, Tillman earned her master’s from Unity College. At the age of 15, in 2021, Tillman was accepted into ASU’s doctoral program. And, as they say, the rest is really history!

Tillman, in a previous interview with Good Morning America, credits the encouragement of her family for her success thus far.

“I’m really just 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.”

So, just how is this incredible young lady celebrating her impressive accomplishments? Well, by helping others!

Via a virtual graduation fundraising campaign supporting program operations, supplies, and scholarships for the DorothyJeanius STEAM Leadership Institute in Chicago, Tillman is giving back to her community so that others students who wish to pursue STEAM as a career can do so.

If you are interested in learning more about this institute or Tillman herself, who just happens to be the founder and CEO of the DorothyJeanius STEAM Leadership Institute, click here.

Photo: Dorothy Jean Tillman II Instagram; DorothyJeanius STEAM Leadership Institute

Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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