First in History: Chicago Teen 'Dorothy Jeanius' Makes Milestone,

First in History: Chicago Teen ‘Dorothy Jeanius’ Makes Milestone, Earns Doctorate in Integrated Behavioral Health at Arizona State University at Just 17!

Prodigious Achievement: A Teenager Defies Conventions

In a remarkable feat, Dorothy Jean Tillman II, a 17-year-old prodigy from Chicago, has etched her name in history by becoming the youngest person to earn a doctoral degree in integrated behavioral health from Arizona State University.

Fondly known as “Dorothy Jeanius” by her family and friends, Tillman’s achievements have left the academic world in awe.

“It’s a wonderful celebration, and we hope … that Dorothy Jean inspires more students,” said Dr. Leslie Manson, Tillman’s associate professor. “But this is still something so rare and unique.”

Early Start: A Journey Fueled by Passion

Tillman’s remarkable journey began when she was just 10 years old, taking her first college course. Her mother, recognizing her daughter’s exceptional intellect, enrolled her in classes at the College of Lake County in northern Illinois, where she majored in psychology and earned her associate’s degree by 2016.

Driven by an insatiable thirst for knowledge, Tillman went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in humanities from New York’s Excelsior College in 2018, followed by a master’s of science from Unity College in Maine in 2020.

Breaking Barriers: A Trailblazer in Behavioral Health

In 2021, Tillman’s determination and academic prowess paved the way for her acceptance into Arizona State University’s Behavioral Health Management Program. Through unwavering focus and dedication, she successfully defended her dissertation in December 2023, earning her doctoral degree at the remarkable age of 17.

A Legacy of Inspiration: Honoring Family and Mentors

Tillman attributes her extraordinary achievements to the guidance and support of her family, particularly her grandmother, Dorothy Tillman, a former Chicago Alderwoman, and her mother, who played a pivotal role in nurturing her academic pursuits.

“Everything that we were doing didn’t seem abnormal to me or out of the ordinary until it started getting all of the attention,” said Tillman, now 18.

Balancing Academics and Aspirations

While Tillman’s accomplishments are undoubtedly remarkable, she acknowledges the sacrifices she has made, including missing out on traditional school experiences like homecoming dances and spirit weeks.

However, she has found solace in her passion for dance, choreography, and her role as the founder and CEO of the Dorothyjeanius STEAM Leadership Institute, a program dedicated to fostering young minds in the arts and STEM subjects.

A Trailblazer’s Vision: Inspiring Future Generations

With her sights set on public speaking engagements and fundraising efforts for her summer camps, Tillman’s ambitions extend far beyond her academic achievements.

Her ultimate goal is to franchise her leadership institute, inspiring and empowering future generations to embrace their passions and pursue their dreams.

As Dr. Manson aptly stated, “And truly, I think what is inspiring is that she embodies that meaning of being a true leader.”