Today, teens seemingly enjoy their virtual life of video games and social media. However, one 14-year-old is shifting the narrative. Dorothy Jean Tillman of Chicago, Illinois is poised to receive her third collegiate degree. At 8 months old, Tillman began talking. She was doing basic math by the age of 4. At 9 years old, Dorothy started high school and since has turned on the power booster to ultimately earn a master’s degree in sustainable science and environmental planning.

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When asked how she ascended from high school to a master’s degree, Tillman responded:  “I started doing high school courses when I was around 9 years old. As soon as I finished those, mom was like “You want to go into getting an associate’s degree?” and I was like, “Why not?” so I was finishing up high school courses and starting with my associates, and I got that [degree] when I was about to turn 11. Moving on from there, since a lot of the associate course hours count for your bachelor’s, I had a good head start when I started my bachelor’s. By the time I was 12, I had my bachelor’s in humanities. Now I’m getting  confirmed for my masters in August”. Reports say the teen genius is also an airplane pilot learning to fly Cessna 172s through a program based in Tuskegee, Alabama, the home of the famous Tuskegee Airmen.

So what does a young prodigy focus on next? How does she stay focused? Tillman responded, “I’ve been working on STEM labs for kids because I really want to go into the STEM-related field and work with kids. I love helping kids have bright futures. I feel like I’m here to make people happy and to help people find their purpose. I know I want to go into that field, but I’m definitely sticking on the path of my engineering degree. I might go back to school, but my plan is to be an entrepreneur and use my engineering degree”.


Jean earned a Bachelor of Liberal Arts from upstate New York’s Excelsior College in 2018. Prior to obtaining her bachelor’s degree, Tillman had already earned an associate degree in psychology from the College of Lake County, in Grayslake, Illinois, at age 10.

A standing ovation is for sure in order.

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