This 13-Year-Old is Headed to Med School

How an inspiring teen has turned her dreams into reality.


Health, Education
This 13-Year-Old is Headed to Med School | How an inspiring teen has turned her dreams into reality.

Alena Analeigh Wicker has an incredibly impressive list of accomplishments, she studied  biological sciences at two separate universities, she is a former NASA intern and now with her acceptance to medical school, at the young age of 13, she is well on her way to achieving her dreams and aspirations. She also provides support to other young girls like her, who are interested in science and technology and hopes that her story will serve as a source of inspiration.

A child prodigy
The NY Post reports that after receiving her acceptance letter to the University of Alabama’s Heersink School of Medicine, 13-year-old Alena became the youngest black student student to be accepted to medical school.

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A post shared by Alena Analeigh (@thebrownstemgirl)

Alena’s mother is not surprised, she claims that her daughter has always been exceptional. From toddlerhood, “Alena was gifted,” Daphne McQuarter, Alena’s mother, says, “It was just how she did things and how advanced she was. She was reading chapter books.”

McQuarter pulled her child prodigy daughter from school, and homeschooled Alena during elementary school. Even after Alena returned to school in fifth grade, she continued studying high school subjects based on a curriculum crafted by her mother. 

“I was bored,” Alena explains, “The high school work was so easy for me that I ended up graduating from high school when I was 12. I love school, I love learning, I love reading. I have a hunger and desire to learn, and that’s just always been me.”

The Brown STEM Girl Foundation
After graduating high school at age 12, Alena enrolled in two separate universities, earning degrees in biological sciences from both Arizona State University and Oakwood University. And, while studying for the accelerated degrees, Alena took the time to inspire others to follow in her footsteps, CNN reports.

Alena started The Brown STEM Girl Foundation, in honor of the memory of Katherine Johnson, who had been a pioneering African-American mathematician at NASA. The Foundation’s goal is to “to engage, empower, and educate girls of color in STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.”

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A post shared by Alena Analeigh (@thebrownstemgirl)

According to the NY Post, Alena promotes her foundation on Instagram and Facebook. “It feels amazing to be able to create a path for girls that look like me.” Alena shared, “It doesn’t matter how old you are. You can do it. Don’t let anybody tell you no. 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.”

A passion for greatness
Alena told People Magazine, "I was around three or four years old when I became fascinated with the stars and space and LEGOs," Alena said. "My mom began taking me to different astronomy nights and NASA Centers. I remember walking in saying 'I am going to work here one day, and I will be the youngest girl of color to work here.”

In 2021, the director of NASA’s Langley Research Center, Clayton Turner, recruited Alena after reading about her in the media. She was 2021’s youngest NASA intern. Alena says that while she attends medical school, she isn’t abandoning her aeronautical dreams. She wants to become a flight surgeon someday and "work with astronauts."

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A post shared by Alena Analeigh (@thebrownstemgirl)

Accepted to Medical School
In addition to falling in love with astronomy, Alena also felt an instant connection to medicine, the NY Post reports. “When I took my first biology class, I knew at that moment that this is what I’m supposed to be doing,” Alena explained, “A big part of what I want to do is viral immunology, and I want to advocate for underrepresented communities that lack health care. It’s something that I’ve become passionate about.”

Alena applied for early acceptance to the University of Alabama’s Heersink School of Medicine. In May, she learned that she had been accepted and shared her joy with her followers on Instagram.

“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,” Alena wrote. “I couldn’t have done it without you,” she continued. “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 to. You are the best mother a kid could ever ask for.”

Alena insists her aptitude and determination doesn’t set her apart from her peers, she says she’s still a normal 13-year-old. Alena is 10 years younger than the average incoming medical student, but the age discrepancy doesn’t bother her. “What is age? I feel like I have proven to myself that I can do anything that I put my heart and mind to,” she told the NY Post.

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