nyone who has read about Alena Analeigh’s story cannot help but be astonished. She made headlines after gaining admission to the University of Alabama at Birmingham Heersink School of Medicine at only 13 years old. She plans to become a doctor and has already completed two full years of college in one year. Upon her entrance into med school, she became the youngest African American to be accepted.
“It actually took one class in engineering, for me to say this is kind of not where I wanted to go,” she told an interviewer. She added, “I think viral immunology really came from my passion for volunteering and going out there engaging with the world.”
Her original plan was to study engineering at Arizona State University. However, her passion was biology, and she excelled in algebra and geometry. “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 said.
If all lines are in place, she will become a doctor by age 18. “What is age?” she said. “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.”
Girls across the world
Girls of all national backgrounds are at risk for major life challenges, such as early pregnancy, domestic and sexual abuse, and the homeless, to name a few. And while Analeigh has used her gift to her advantage, she has been equally dedicated to advancing the development of young girls. “I want to inspire the girls. I want them to see that there are no limits,” she said. “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.”
She established a foundation titled Brown STEM Girl, an organization funded through private donations. The program aims to entice young girls who show sincere interest in developing their gifts with financial scholarships and mentorship. Her non-profit has around 460 active members, with a reported 2,000 girls on a waitlist. “I really want to leave my mark on the world and lead a group of girls that know what they can do,” she said.
In addition to mainlining her academic goals and running her organization, Analeigh is involved in speaking engagements. She has received honors and awards, such as being named one of Time Magazine’s Top Kid of the Year Finalists for 2022. If that wasn’t impressive enough, she is a published author.
Alena Analeigh Wicker, one of our #HBCUSTEMQueens has just become the youngest person EVER to be accepted into medical school. She will be attending University of Alabama at Birmingham Heersink School of Medicine.— EBONY MAGAZINE (@EBONYMag) July 12, 2022
Her accomplishments don’t end there!
✍🏾: https://t.co/L8Zv1JUCP2 pic.twitter.com/bVdrC4vtZi
They say every kid’s success is the product of their mother’s hard work, and Alena lets everyone know that she attributes her success to her mother Daphne McQuarter’s support. “My mom is amazing. She gave me opportunities more than things,” said Alena, who has a 24-year-old sister. “She taught me to think beyond and see beyond. For me, that was the best experience.”
Her mother said about the mother-daughter relationship, “We’ve had such an amazing relationship because I always gave her the space to be a kid, grow, make mistakes and learn. She knew she always had a voice in anything, including her education.” As for Analeigh’s childhood, she says she enjoys doing the normal things that teens do, but doesn’t feel she lost out on much.
She is expected to complete her two undergraduate degrees by the spring of 2024 and will start medical school that fall, although she has taken an assessment of what lies before her. “I don’t think it’s going to be easy, but I have a huge support system around me that pushes me and cheers me on,” she said.