Meet 14-year-old Dorothy Jean Tillman, She enjoys scrolling TikTok, dancing, and hanging out with her friends. She lives the live the life normal young teenage. Early on she started dual enrollment for high school courses at 8 years old.
Soon after completing high school, she earned her associate’s degree in psychology from the College of Lake County at age 10, then went on to receive her bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Excelsior College at 12.
Tillman accomplished her biggest feat yet with a master’s degree in environmental science and sustainable engineering from Unity College. “We did a little family celebration,” she tells PEOPLE of her graduation, which was tentatively postponed to August due to coronavirus.
“It was something small and simple because we still have to respect the rules of quarantine.” DJ says it was her grandmother who first stoked her interest in STEM and engineering, as she’d buy her various magazines and books on the topic, which led the avid young pupil to join engineering and coding enrichment programs as a child. While she’s unsure what her future holds at the moment, she knows she wants it to somehow involve STEM — and she’s starting by giving back.
“I kind of want to be able to take everything that I’ve learned, all of my degrees, and group them into one thing. Because the way I am, I can’t stay on one project. I have to hop around to different things to make sure I stay passionate in everything equally.” Meanwhile, she’s also working on a book called Unlock the Jeanius Within — which she calls a “wellness, goal-oriented” compilation featuring excerpts from various people — and also floats the idea of one day hosting a podcast. “To get where you want to be, you have to be dedicated,” she says.
This is black excellence. Find out more about Dorothy Jean Tillman below.