She doubled back for a historic repeat!
The former youngest University of Houston (UH) graduate is now making history again as the youngest master’s degree graduate, UH.edu reports.
Salenah Cartier made history last year at just 17-years-old when she became UH’s youngest graduate for Fall 2020, receiving her bachelor’s degree in psychology. Now, at 18, she’s making history again as the university’s youngest Fall 2021 graduate. She’s set to walk the stage at this year’s Fall 2021 graduation ceremony.
Cartier said that while she was always smart, she knew early on that the traditional school route wasn’t for her, mainly because of all the bullying she faced as a child just for being gifted.
“I was always an early learner. I started learning larger concepts at an earlier stage. That trend continued through my life…I was picked on for being different. They would make fun of me for the way I talk and the way I articulate information. Eventually, I didn’t want to be smart anymore. What I wanted, so badly, was to be like everyone else,” she recalled.
Once her mother decided to officially begin homeschooling for Cartier, she was able to thrive. Being able to bond with other students with similar stories was good for her, and she was able to complete the work at a pace that made sense for her, graduating high school at the age of 14. By 16, she had earned her associate’s degree in science and biology from Lone Star College and by 17, she graduated with a degree in psychology from UH’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, also receiving a certificate in Corporate Entrepreneurship from C.T. Bauer College of Business.
Now she’s one step closer to her dream of a career in educational research, set to graduate from UH again at the age of 18 with a Master of Education degree in curriculum and instruction. Her goal is to begin her doctorate soon, focusing on studying a subject that’s personal for her – bullying.
“I am currently working on bullying research, which is very personal. I want other young students to know they can make it through, too. My ultimate goal in life is to make a big contribution to the field of educational development. I would like to integrate psychological research into educational policy and create policies that nurture psychological wellbeing,” said Cartier.
She hopes that she can continue inspiring other young learners to know that anything is possible. Cartier also feels she would encourage her younger self to understand that being gifted isn’t a bad thing.
“I would remind her [that] a lot of great people were bullied only for being different. Don’t allow yourself to be changed by other people’s perception of you. Learn who you are and what makes you different. Different is another word for unique, and that’s a good thing,” said Cartier.
Congratulations Salenah! The sky is just the beginning for you!
Photo Courtesy of University of Houston