Most 12-year-olds are trying to get through the hustle and bustle of middle school. But Dorothy Jean "DJ" Tillman has recently graduated college with her second degree. 

DJ earned her bachelor's degree Friday, July 13, from upstate New York's Excelsior College, according to News 10

“My child care provider, Miss Mary, first noticed, she said, 'You got a special baby that you need to understand that this baby been here before,” her mom, Jemelita, said. “Dorothy, I believe, started doing double digits by four or three, and we were really excited about the way she loved learning.”  

Before obtaining her first bachelor’s, DJ had already earned her associate’s degree. 

“In our culture, intellectualism is an academic achievement that has been diminished over time, and I think it’s incredibly important, particularly at a time when there are questions about the value of a higher education,” her mother added.

When she was younger, DJ started picking up on math faster than her peers. It has paid off in many ways, and she is now looking forward to attending graduate school to earn a master’s in environmental engineering.  

“With environmental engineering, it’s all about helping people, the environment, and that’s just what I love to do, that’s what makes me happy,” DJ said.

Jemelita, who is from the South Side of Chicago, said her daughter overcame great odds to achieve what she has and does not plan to stop. 

“There are some great things coming out of the South Side of Chicago and this, my baby, is one of the greatest of them all.”

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