A 13-year-old girl has already been accepted to an Alabama medical school as she wraps up her work on two undergraduate degrees for biological sciences, making her the youngest Black student to ever be accepted to a medical school, according to The Washington Post.
Alena Analeigh Wicker, 13, was accepted into the University of Alabama’s Heersink School of Medicine class of 2024 in June, which will make her ten years younger than the average medical student. She’s currently in the process of earning her two undergraduate degrees, one at Oakwood University and the other at Arizona State University.
She hopes that by 18 she will be a doctor.
Graduated High School At The Age Of 12: “I’m Not Too Young” She Says
The whiz kid, who graduated from high school a year ago at the age of 12, told The Post that she doesn’t feel she’s to young, and has already proven to herself that she can do “anything I put my heart and mind into.”
“What is age?” Alena told The Washington Post.”You’re not too young to do anything. I feel like I have proven to myself that I can do anything that I put my heart and mind to.”
Alena does the majority of her coursework online and lives in the Fort Worth area, according to the outlet.
Somehow in between studying for two degrees, she has also founded the organization Brown STEM Girl, which looks to encourage young Black girls to explore the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
The organization also provides scholarships and academic resources, and currently has 460 members with a wait list of roughly 2,000 girls.
“We’re showing the world that there’s other girls out there that are just like me, and they deserve an opportunity and a chance,” Alena said of the program.
Family Knew She Was Gifted Early On
Alena’s mother, Daphne McQuarter, who adopted her at a young age, said she knew early on that her daughter was gifted, and had to eventually homeschool the girl to avoid bullying from the other children.
“Alena was gifted,” McQuarter said. “It was just how she did things and how advanced she was. She was reading chapter books.”
After returning to the classroom for fifth grade, Alena said that the coursework at school was so easy that she ended up bored more often than not. She would go on to graduate from high school several years later at just 12 years old.
Alena also holds the distinction of being NASA’s youngest intern, which she did last summer before switching her academic pursuits from engineering to biology, The Post reported.
Also Holds The Distinction Of Being NASA’s Youngest Intern
The prodigy was brought on to the premiere space organization after the director of NASA’s Langley Research Center stumbled across a news story about the girl’s aspirations to work for NASA.
“Alena is one of those exceptional intellects,” said NASA Director Clayton Turner, who added that her intellect was only part of what made her so special. “What’s in her is wanting to help others, wanting to lift up others.”
Alena noted that she wants to bring healthcare to underprivileged areas and plans on focusing her studies on viral immunology.
“A big part of what I want to do is viral immunology, and I want to advocate for underrepresented communities that lack health care,” Alena told The Washington Post, “It’s something that I’ve become passionate about.”
The program she was accepted into is highly selective, boasting an acceptance rate of about five percent, per US News.
Alena is set to complete both of her undergraduate degrees by the spring of 2024 and will start medical school in the fall of that year.