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Dr. Dorothy Jean Tillman: World’s Youngest girl who completed her PhD at the age of 18

By age 14, Tillman had already completed her associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Determined to continue her academic journey, she pursued a doctorate.

Dorothy Jean Tillman, a remarkable young woman from Chicago, earned her doctoral degree at the age of 18.

By age 14, Tillman had already completed her associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Determined to continue her academic journey, she pursued a doctorate.

During the pandemic, Tillman launched her STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) startup and decided to enroll in a doctoral program.

Her mother, Jimalita Tillman, was initially surprised by her daughter’s decision but ultimately supported her mission to positively impact young individuals’ mental health.

After two years of hard work, Tillman successfully delivered her dissertation and graduated from Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions on May 8, earning the title Dr. Dorothy Jean Tillman.

Tillman’s academic excellence began early; she was tackling high school-level work by age seven and taking college-level module tests to earn credits towards her higher education.

In addition to her studies, Tillman runs the Dorothy Jeanius STEAM Leadership Institute. This organization inspires hundreds of underserved young people in Chicago and abroad in countries like Ghana and South Africa to pursue careers in STEAM fields.

“I’ve been focusing on my studies a lot and I don’t go out nearly as much as I should. Now I’m glad to have the time for things like that,” Tillman said.

She hopes to expand her reach, potentially franchising the camps to help more children, and aims to work more with kids in Africa.

“It’s teamwork that makes the dream work. It is a village that builds the land. It’s having those people there with you that is going to, you know, uphold you at the end of the day,” she added.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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