August 5, 2023
14-Year-Old Alena Analeigh Youngest African American To Be Accepted Into Med School
Alena Analeigh, 14, is making history as a junior enrolled at Arizona State University. According to CBS News, she is the youngest African American to be accepted into medical school.
Alena, who grew up outside Fort Worth, Texas, graduated high school at just 12, is studying biosciences at ASU and is very interested in cancer research.
“I really found, like, this is what I want to do. It’s not something that they see every day, but for me, it’s like doing what I love,” Alena said. “It’s my passion.”
Her drive for learning and intelligence allowed her to become an intern at the American Cancer Society Diversity in Cancer Research program, located at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Alena has studied natural drug treatments for ovarian cancer.
“I was more focused on research,” Alena said. “I loved all the stuff that was happening in the lab, stuff that people develop every day. Like, what could I really do to be in the lab to get more experience? And, then, that’s when I found this program.”
UMD School of Medicine Associate Professor and Alena’s mentor, Dr. Tonya Webb, articulated what Alena has accomplished thus far.
“She’s used compounds that are found in licorice, green tea, and ginseng and has been able to show that some of them can cause the cancer to shrink in size, as well as look at the immune system,” Webb said. “At this stage, she’s learning so much. She’s growing and developing, and to show her that she can have an impact in the field of cancer research is just a privilege.”
Alena wants to inspire other young women of color on her path, called “Brown STEM Girl.”
“I’m trying to accomplish something, and I just want other girls to aspire to do what they love, especially girls of color,” she said.
Following her cancer research, Alena wants to return to ASU to finish college in the fall.