A Chicago teenager made history by earning a doctorate degree at 17 and walked in her university’s commencement program.

“I got a chance to meet many of my classmates in person as well as professors,” she said. “To get the opportunity to speak on the stage in front of 20,000 people live and 3 million online was truly an honor.”

Dorothy Jean Tillman II began her college education at age 10, earning her associate’s degree in 2016 and her bachelor’s in 2018. After completing a master’s in 2020, she entered Arizona State University’s Doctorate of Behavioral Health Management program in 2021 at age 15. She defended her dissertation in December and attended ASU’s spring commencement on 6th May.

Tillman credited her family as one of her biggest inspirations to complete her graduate studies. “Seeing my mother consistently work so hard to continuously uphold our family’s legacy and be that person that everyone was able to go to, if they needed anything … always seeing [her] like Wonder Woman definitely made me want to grow up [into] an accomplished person.” Tillman said to media.

Tillman, having completed her degrees, told media she plans to reflect on her specific goals and focus on other interests, including public speaking and a leadership institute she created.

“I’m really just grateful that the world is my oyster, and that I’ve done so much so young,” she said. “And I have time to kind of think that through.”

Stay tuned.