16-Year-Old Ethiopia’s Hana Taylor Schlitz Breaks Sister’s Record, Becomes Youngest TWU Graduate

Hana Taylor Schlitz, the youngest member of the Taylor Schlitz family, recently graduated from Texas Woman’s University (TWU) at the age of 16.

Her family is known for producing talented individuals, including Ian, who earned a PhD at 17 and Haley Taylor Schlitz, who became the youngest person in American history to earn a law degree at 19. Haley also graduated from TWU with a Bachelor of Science in 2019 when she was 16.

Hana became TWU’s youngest alumna, breaking her sister Haley’s record.

“I am so proud of her & glad to have her breaking my record in May when she becomes the youngest graduate in the history of #TXWomans,” Haley remarked during the program.

In an article for Newsweek, Hana stated, “As I prepare to graduate from Texas Woman’s University, the youngest in its storied history since its founding in 1901, I am both honored and excited to join my sister, Haley Taylor Schlitz, in this unique legacy, gratefully stepping forward from the record she once set.” It is more than just an academic accomplishment; it is a call to action.

In the essay, she stated that the loss of her biological mother inspired her to pursue higher education.

She said that her mother died from tuberculosis (TB) shortly after her birth in a rural Ethiopian community. When she was ten months old, Dr. Myiesha Taylor and her husband, William Schlitz, adopted her and transported her to the United States after discovering she, too, had tuberculosis. Fortunately, she overcome the life-threatening condition and rose above the difficulties she encountered.

“My recovery from tuberculosis (TB) was a monument not just to medical technology, but also to the quality of the public health infrastructure in the United States, which facilitated my treatment. “The medical care and opportunities I received changed the course of my life dramatically, in stark contrast to the fate my biological mother met,” she explained.

Hana’s academic work focuses on preventing the spread of tuberculosis and its associated diseases.

She stated, “I am motivated by the purpose of ensuring that every child has access to the same level of care that allowed me to survive and thrive. This conviction impacted my decision to pursue a PhD in sociology, a profession that gives a prism through which to analyze the intricate interactions between society, health, and disease—interactions that I have personally experienced.”

Tuberculosis is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, affecting 1.5 million people annually. Although it is a curable disease, most instances occur in low-income countries.

Hana intends to use her research and studies to promote societal change. She will begin her doctoral studies in sociology at Texas Woman’s University this autumn after graduating in May 2024.

She reiterated, “We cannot allow tuberculosis to continue separating mothers from their children or potential leaders from our future. My journey from a remote town in Ethiopia to being a PhD candidate in Sociology at 16 is a personal victory and a dramatic demonstration of what is possible when we dedicate ourselves to eradicating tuberculosis.

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