Dr. Jalaal Hayes (pictured, right) made history in 2015 after becoming the youngest person to earn a Ph.D from Delaware State University at the age of 22. As the son of two librarians, the North Philadelphia native was probably expected to be an excellent student but has surpassed those expectations with his academic feats.
Even at the age of nine, Hayes tutored older students and was able to explain complex theories far beyond his grade level. Hayes graduated from high school at the age of 15 in 2008, inspired by the likes of nuclear scientist and engineer Dr. J. Ernest Wilkins Jr., the youngest student ever admitted to the University of Chicago at the age of 13.
After being awarded a scholarship to his parents’ alma mater, Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, Hayes applied himself and earned two bachelor degrees in General Science and History in just three years. As he revealed in a recent interview, admissions staff at Delaware State mistook Hayes for an undergraduate student after he applied for a doctoral program in applied chemistry.
Hayes successfully defended his dissertation titled, “Thermodynamic and Kinetic Studies of Alkali Metal Doped-Lithium Amide-Magnesium Hydride Hydrogen Storage System,” last summer. He received his doctorate degree last December. Delaware State, a HBCU, began awarding doctorates in 2004.
Today, Hayes teaches anatomy and physiology at the Universal Audenried Charter High School in Philadelphia.
That display of academic excellence was passed down to one of Hayes’ three siblings. His 15-year-old brother will graduate from high school this year, just like he did.
(Photo: Delaware State University)