Most 13-year-olds like to hang with their friends and scroll through TikTok. Alena Analeigh is similar to other 13-year-olds in this sense, but she’s also already graduated from high school and was just accepted into medical school.
“Today I’m just grateful. 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,” the newly accepted med student wrote on Instagram. “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.” Alena was accepted into Alabama’s Heersink School of Medicine for 2024.
Alena also thanks her mom for all of the support throughout her short but illustrious academic career. “Mama I made it. I couldn’t have done it without you. You gave me every opportunity possible to be successful. 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 are the best mother a kid could ever ask for. MAMA I MADE IT!”
“You always believed in me.You allowed me space to grow and become, make mistakes without making me feel bad. You allowed me the opportunity to experience the world,” she added in the post.
Alena’s never let age be a deterrent, either. In an interview with Washington Post, Alena said, “What is age? 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.”
Daphne McQuarter, Alena’s mother, started noticing that her daughter stood out from other toddlers around the age of 3. “Alena was gifted,” McQuarter said. “It was just how she did things and how advanced she was. She was reading chapter books.”
Alena experienced some bullying for her academic gifts, at which point her mother opted to home school her. At fifth grade, Alena returned to a traditional school while also taking advanced high school courses at home. When the pandemic hit, Alena found herself with a lot of extra time and decided to take advantage of it.
“I was bored,” the teenager said. “The high school work was so easy for me that I ended up graduating from high school at 12 years old.”
On top of making it into medical school, Alena also found time to support and uplift other girls of color who are interested in science with her organization The Brown STEM Girl, which is committed to “helping outstanding minority students with a stellar educational record and passion for a STEM related career to realize their maximum potential.” According to the National Science Board, only 5% of the science and engineering workforce is comprised of women of color.
Alena hopes all of her academic and philanthropic work can continue to help people in communities of color and other underserved communities.
“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.”
As to advice Alena has for any other girls her age reading this? Never give up. “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.”