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Thursday, July 18, 2024

16-year-old African-American girl bags bachelors degree at Texas university, set to earn PhD at 22

A 16-year-old African-American girl named Hana Taylor Schlitz has bagged her bachelor’s degree at Texas Women’s University in the United States.

Hana obtained her bachelors degree in Socology at the Texas Womens University, United States making history as one of the institution’s youngest graduate. She is an Ethiopian native who was adopted by American parents at just 10 months old.

In an writen to News Week, Hana mentioned that she lost her mother who was diagnosed with Tuberculosis shortly after her birth and was brought to the United States by Dr. Myiesha Taylor, an emergency medicine physician.

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Upon arriving the United States, Hana said she was allso diagnosed with the same disease as her mother – Tuberculosis but she was treaded by Dr. Taylor who treated her and later adopted her, making her a part of the Taylor Schlitz family.

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”I was ten months old and severely underweight when I was adopted and brought to the United States. Diagnosed with TB shortly after arriving, I was thrust into a battle for life that many children in Ethiopia and around the worldnever survive,” she said.

The Taylor Schlitz family is known for its academic excellence. Hana’s older sister was the youngest person in the United States history to earn a law degree at age 19. Her older brother, Ian, earned his masters degree at just 17 years old. 

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Hana also earned an associateds of Arts degree at Tarrant County College when she was 15-years-old before she proceeded to Texas Womens University. Now she has has also made her mark in the academic world like her other siblings.


“As I prepare to graduate from Texas Woman’s University, the youngest in its storied history since its founding in 1901, I am both honored and excited to join my sister, Haley Taylor Schlitz, in this unique legacy—gratefully stepping forward from the record she once set,” she said.

Hana stated that the academic achievement is a call to action as she has been shaped by resilience from a young age. She added that the experiences have not only forged her character but have also ignited ther passion within her to challenge and overcome societal barriers.

“My recovery from tuberculosis (TB) was not just a testament to medical science but also to the strength of the public health infrastructure in the United States that supported my treatment,” Hana said.

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“The trajectory of my life shifted dramatically due to the medical care and opportunities I received, a stark contrast to the fate my biological mother met,” she added.

She said her experience inspired her commitment to advocate for international support and policy-making that strengthen health systems globally, especially in low and middle-income countries.

Hana added that she is driven by the mission to ensure that every child has access to the same level of care that enabled her to survive and thrive as a young child. She said her early graduation symbolizes a plea to the global community to recommit to the fight against Tuberculosis.

”Tuberculosis rates, alarmingly, are on the rise again in the United States. We cannot afford to lose more lives to a condition that should belong in the past. The world needs more leaders, more healers, more visionaries who can face the challenges of tomorrow. For every child lost to TB, we lose a part of our future,” she said.

She mentioned that this commitment influenced her decision to pursue a PhD in sociology, a field that provides a lens to examine the complex interactions between society, health, and disease interactions she have personally lived through.

Hana will be studying for her doctorate in Sociology at the same Texas Women University, United States in the fall of 2024 with goals of impacting social change through her research and studies.


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