13-Year-Old Accepted to Medical School

13-Year-Old Accepted to Medical School

July 21, 2022 0 By Jennifer Walker

At 13 years old, Alena Analeigh Wicker is on her way to medical school.

Wicker, who lives just outside of Forth Worth, Texas, learned in May that she had been accepted into the University of Alabama at Birmingham Heersink School of Medicine for 2024 through the Burroughs Wellcome Scholars Early Assurance Program, the Washington Post reported this week.

The child prodigy is more than 10 years younger than the average incoming medical student, the Post noted. And she is the youngest Black person to ever get accepted into a medical school in the U.S., KPNX-TV reported.

“I’m still a normal 13-year-old,” Wicker, who recently began using her middle name, Analeigh, as her surname, told the Post. “I just have extremely good time management skills and I’m very disciplined.”

She is currently a student at both Arizona State University and Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, and is simultaneously earning two separate undergraduate degrees in biological sciences, the Post reported. She takes most of her classes online, but also spends time on campus completing labs.

Just last year, Wicker spoke with KPNX-TV about her acceptance to Arizona State University’s engineering program at age 12. While she originally had hopes of working for NASA, her passion for biology shifted her focus to medicine.

“It actually took one class in engineering for me to say this is kind of not where I wanted to go,” she told the news outlet. “I think viral immunology really came from my passion for volunteering and going out there engaging with the world.”

“What I want from healthcare is to really show these underrepresented communities that we can help, that we can find cures for these viruses,” she added.

Wicker’s current timeline means that she’ll become a doctor at 18, and she hopes to encourage her peers to follow in her footsteps.

About a year and a half ago, she started an organization called the Brown STEM Girl, aimed at providing opportunities to girls of color who are interested in exploring careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Wicker told the Post that she wanted to create the organization for girls like her “to feel like they belong somewhere.”

She was also named one of Time’s Top Kid of the Year Finalists for 2022.

In her spare time, Wicker plays soccer and participates in track and field, according to the Post. Some of her hobbies include going to the arcade with friends, singing, cooking, and traveling.

In a recent post on Instagram, she wrote that she was “grateful,” noting that she had graduated high school just a year ago, the Birmingham Times reported.

“Statistics would have said I never would have made it,” she added. “A little black girl adopted from Fontana, California. I’ve worked so hard to reach my goals and live my dreams. Mama, I made it. I couldn’t have done it without you.”

Wicker told the Post that she wants to continue to advocate for other young people.

“It feels amazing to be able to create a path for girls that look like me,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how old you are. You can do it. Don’t let anybody tell you no.”

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    Jennifer Henderson joined MedPage Today as an enterprise and investigative writer in Jan. 2021. She has covered the healthcare industry in NYC, life sciences and the business of law, among other areas.