Alena Analeigh Wicker was accepted into the University of Alabama’s Heersink School of Medicine in the fall of 2024 after applying for the school’s Early Assurance Program. Wicker is currently enrolled in both Arizona State University and Oakwood University, where is she earning two separate undergraduate biology degrees. Despite her academic success, Wicker insists that she is just like any other teenager.
“I’m still a normal 13-year-old,” Alena told The Washington Post. “I just have extremely good time management skills and I’m very disciplined.”
Wicker’s adoptive mother explained to The Post that she began noticing that Wicker was different from other children at a very young age.
“Alena was gifted,” Wicker’s mother, Daphne McQuarter, said. “It was just how she did things and how advanced she was. She was reading chapter books” at three years old, McQuarter added.
To that extent, the teenager told The Post, “What is age?”
“You’re not too young to do anything,” she said. “I feel like I have proven to myself that I can do anything that I put my heart and mind to.”
Wicker was pulled from a traditional school after being bullied by a classmate for her achievements. She was homeschooled for a few years, but in fifth grade she returned back to the classroom before the pandemic hit.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, her school switched to virtual learning and Wicker decided to take on additional courses far above her grade level.
“I was bored,” she told The Post. “The high school work was so easy for me that I ended up graduating from high school at 12 years old.”
Wicker said she initially thought she wanted to be an engineer, but took one college class and knew it was not for her.
“I wasted no time. I dropped a class, changed my major, and when I took my first biological class, I knew in that moment that this is what I’m supposed to be doing,” 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,” Wicker added. “It’s something that I’ve become passionate about.”
Wicker, who is black, founded Brown STEM Girl — an organization dedicated toward helping female minorities get involved in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.
Wicker’s advice for any young girl is, “Never give up on you, never let someone tell you that you can’t do something.”
The 13-year-old knows that completing college by 2024 and enrolling in medical school will be a difficult task, but says she knows that she has a “huge support system around me that pushes me and cheers me on.”
“I love school, I love learning, I love reading,” she also told The Post.