As this Saturday’s graduation draws near, graduation festivities have already begun at the University of Alabama. It serves as a springboard for even greater things for 16-year-old LeAnna Roberts.
Summa cum laude, the top student in her class, will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in biology in 2023 while wearing more than 12 honors ropes and tassels.
“I’m incredibly thrilled; it hasn’t really sunk in yet, but I’m incredibly thrilled. My family is coming to support me, of course, and they are all very proud of me, Roberts told the Tuscaloosa News.
The Tuscaloosa native is one of the school’s youngest graduates, having graduated when he was far too young to drive or vote. Roberts’ next task is to complete the year-long medical school application process.
According to the school’s website, she stated, “I am currently preparing to take the Medical College Admission Test next month so I can begin the application process for medical schools.
The future orthopedic surgeon candidate is still enrolled at UA with a diploma and an associate’s degree. Following graduation, she plans to enroll in graduate-level classes with a focus on health care.
She plans to graduate from the STEM Path to MBA program in May 2024. The teen’s ultimate goal is to make a positive contribution to the medical industry, with a focus on rural healthcare disparities.
In an interview with WTVM 13, Roberts stated, “I want to become a surgeon to close the gaps in health care for so many people nationally and internationally.”
Roberts has been advancing with distinction since 2021. Due to dual enrollment, she was able to finish high school early, and on the same day she turned 15, she received an associate’s degree in biology from Shelton State Community College as well as her high school diploma from Central High School.
She later transferred to the University of Alabama to complete her bachelor’s degree in pre-medicine.
Roberts stated to WVTM 13 in 2021, “I’ve always chased a challenge because it’s great to do something that other people haven’t.”
Despite being younger than her classmates, Roberts said she has felt right at home at the University of Arizona. Because most people are unaware of the age difference, the 16-year-old considers herself to be a typical student, keeping busy and navigating college life with her peers. She has also never let her age limit or obstruct her efforts to achieve her objectives.
While she is still a teen, Roberts’ frequently demanding schedule does not prevent her from remaining enthusiastic about learning.
“Balance has undoubtedly been the key. I’ve been able to succeed so far by balancing extracurricular activities and remaining focused in class,” she told WVTM 13.
As if she weren’t already an inspiration, the adolescent student eagerly balanced her coursework with community involvement.
Roberts told Local 12 News, “I am a volunteer at Druid City Hospital and have volunteered with Al’s Pals and Vision Days during my two years as an undergraduate student.
In addition, Roberts recently published an abstract on health disparities and literacy in Black Belt communities with Dr. Avani Shah, an associate professor in the UA School of Social Work.
The parental support for Roberts is unwavering despite her unusual matriculation. The accomplishments of their daughter were the source of great pride for parents Lee and Latonya Roberts.
Every day, Mother Latonya looked forward to picking up her intelligent daughter from school and hearing about her day.
“I always enjoyed hearing about her day.” Even though some days were more difficult than others, the proud mother always saw the bright side of things, according to WVTM 13.
LeAnna is grateful for her family’s support in allowing her to achieve her goals.