“Statistics would have said I never would have made it” – Alena Analeigh Walker
Yeah, you read the title right. 13-year-old Alena Analeigh Wicker is the youngest Black student in medical school. Similarly, it was only last year when the young student completed her high school degree. Looking back, I was too invested in gossiping about Miley Cyrus’ 2013 VMA performance when I should have been concentrating on school at that age.
In May, Alena was offered a spot at the University of Alabama’s Heersink School of Medicine for 2024. The STEM student is more than ten years younger than the average incoming medical student. According to People Magazine, Alena was accepted as part of the school’s Early Assurance Program. This program partners with other HBCU schools in Alabama to offer students early acceptance as they plan to enter medical school.
In a heartfelt Instagram post, the young teen wrote “Mama I made it. I couldn’t have done it without you.” She continues, “You gave me every opportunity to be successful. You allowed me space to grow and become, and make mistakes without making me feel bad. You allowed me the opportunity to experience the world.”
In an article by Washington Post, Clayton Turner (Alena’s mentor), expressed how unique she is beyond her intellect. “What’s in her is wanting to help others, wanting to lift up others,” he told interviewers. A clear example of Alena’s heart of gold is the reasoning behind why she wanted to pursue a degree in medicine instead of engineering. She 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.”
In addition to this achievement, Alena received the Global Child Prodigy Award back in December. Despite this, Alena sees herself as a normal teen. She enjoys going to the movies, playing soccer, baking, and hanging out with friends.
Above all, Alena Wicker is living proof of the extraordinary places dedication and a proper work ethic can take you. If you can dream it, you can do it!