Alena Analeigh Wicker has made history.
The 13-year-old Texas girl was recently accepted into the University of Alabama’s Heersink School of Medicine, making her the youngest Black student to ever gain admission into a U.S. medical school. Alena received the big news back in May, just a year after she received her high school diploma. Since then, the teen has been completing her undergraduate courses at two universities: Arizona State University and Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama. She is reportedly in her junior year and is expected to begin medical school in 2024.
“I graduated High school LAST YEAR at 12 years old and here I am one year later I’ve been accepted into Med School at 13,” she wrote on Instagram last month. “I’m a junior in college. Statistics would have said I never would have made it. 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.”
The Washington Post reports Alena was accepted to Heersink School of Medicine under its Early Assurance Program, which works with Alabama HBCUs to offer early admissions.
Alena said she initially had plans to pursue a career in engineering, but quickly realized she was more interested in medicine. She is now completing two separate degrees in biological sciences. In 2021, Alena became NASA’s youngest intern.
“I wasted no time. I dropped a class, changed my major, and when I took my first biological class, I knew in that moment that this is what I’m supposed to be doing,” she told the Post. “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 said. “It’s something that I’ve become passionate about.”
The teen says she hopes her accomplishments will inspire others, specifically young Black girls, to pursue their dreams.
“I would say to any little girl out there that’s reading this: Never give up on you, never let someone tell you that you can’t do something,” Alena said. “It feels amazing to be able to create a path for girls that look like me,” Alena said. “It doesn’t matter how old you are. You can do it. Don’t let anybody tell you no.”