13-Year-Old Alena Wicker Is on Track To Be the Youngest Black Medical School Student Ever

Alena Wicker graduated high school at 12 years old and was accepted to medical school at 13. Still, she says she’s “still a normal 13-year-old,” even after doing more than most people do in a lifetime.

Alena Wicker, Black girl wearing white medical coat
Photo: Courtesy of Alena Wicker

C'mon Black girl magic!

At just 13 years old, Alena Wicker was accepted into the University of Alabama's Heersink School of Medicine for 2024, one year after graduating high school. She's the youngest Black student accepted to medical school in history.

"I'm still a normal 13 year old," Wicker, a Cedar Hill, Texas resident told the Washington Post. "I just have extremely good time management skills and I'm very disciplined." She enjoys things that are typical for her age like playing soccer, baking, and hanging out with friends. But she also happens to be more than 10 years younger than the average incoming medical student.

According to her mother, Daphne McQuarter, she has been exceptional since toddlerhood. "Alena was gifted," said her mother. "It was just how she did things and how advanced she was. She was reading chapter books." McQuarter supported her daughter's natural aptitude for learning with a combination of returning to traditional schooling and a curriculum she created for her at home.

Those efforts made it possible for Wicker to graduate from high school during the pandemic at just 12 years old. Wickershared the news of her medical school acceptance on Instagram in late June. She used the post as an opportunity to thank her mother for her love and support.

"You cheered me on, wiped my tears, gave me Oreos when I needed comfort, you never allowed me to settle, disciplined me when I needed …You always believed in me," she wrote to her mother." You allowed me space to grow and become, make mistakes without making me feel bad. You allowed me the opportunity to experience the world."

Wicker gained acceptance to the University of Alabama through the Heersink School of Medicine's Early Assurance Program, which works with Alabama HBCUs to offer early admissions, according to The Washington 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," Wicker said in the same interview. "It's something that I've become passionate about."

Medical school is just one of the teen's many accomplishments. In 2021 she founded Brown STEM Girl, an organization with 460 members—and around 2,000 on the waitlist—aimed at providing opportunities for girls of color interested in exploring careers in STEM. The organization offers financial scholarships, mentorship programs, and additional resources to standout students.

Wicker has been doing speaking engagements for years and has received numerous honors and awards throughout her life. Most recently, she was named one of Time's Top Kid of the Year Finalists for 2022. She also became NASA's youngest intern in the summer of 2021. And to those who think she may be missing out on childhood, she has a message for them as well.

"What is age?" she says. "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."

Wicker is expected to complete her two undergraduate degrees at Arizona State University and Oakwood University in biological sciences by the spring of 2024. She intends to start medical school in the fall, after graduation.

"It feels amazing to be able to create a path for girls that look like me," Wicker says. "It doesn't matter how old you are. You can do it. Don't let anybody tell you no."

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles