HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Sam Houston State University is looking at its youngest graduate.
At just age 11, Nehemiah Juniel started his college career.
Now, at age 15, he’s set to graduate from SHSU with his Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences this August.
Juniel says his sister inspired him to get a head start on school.
Once he studied for the TSI, he told his parents he was ready for college.
“A year passed studying for the TSI and I told them again, as soon as I turn 11, I still want to go,” Juniel said. “Everyone decided, let’s just let him go, just see what happens. No one really expected me to pass except myself, so when I walked out of there and passed, it was kind of what do we do now.”
Juniel’s internship coordinator, Lisa Chaddick, says he is a role model student.
“The bottom line is Nehemiah is the ideal student,” said Lisa Chaddick, professor at SHSU. “He exemplifies what professors hope to have in their students in their classes.”
Chaddick says Juniel just grasps the concept of college.
“He’s engaged,” Chaddick said. “He’s curious. He asks insightful questions. He gets the big picture.”
After his internship this past spring, Juniel narrowed down want he wants to specialize in as a doctor.
“I decided on cardiology and family practice because that’s just what I want to do, to have a broad scope and help with a big issue right now,” Juniel said.
Juniel completed the internship at his professor’s clinic.
Dr. Jack Runyan says he would give Nehemiah a research assignment and he always went above and beyond.
“He would come back with a very thorough answer,” Runyan said. “There not many students that would be... that productive and that motivated and get things done in less than 24 hours, and Nehemiah always did.”
Juniel’s parents say they weren’t surprised he wanted to jump start his education.
“I can say we weren’t really surprised because this has always been Nehemiah,” said Raphael and Corie Juniel, his parents. “From a little bitty, four and five, like I can do algebra and thinking what 4- or 5-year-old even knows the word algebra? Then showing him and him doing it so him starting early wasn’t really a shocker.”
They say Juniel makes a plan and sticks to it.
“He’s more focused than I ever was or anyone I’ve ever known,” Juniel said. "He’s the type of person when he makes up in his mind when he wants to do something, he will research it to no end. He’ll know all the steps.”
Now that Juniel is set to graduate with honors at 15, his parents remind him that he still has time to accomplish his dreams.
“We try to be as easy going as possible so he doesn’t feel any extra pressure and so we try to remind him that he’s still young and he still has time,” said Juniel. “The last thing we want is for him to burnout.”
Burnout seems to be the last thing on Juniel’s mind as he says he is going to finish up the necessary classes needed as he prepares for medical school.
While on campus today, we ran into Dr. Emily Roper, dean of Health Sciences. She is looking forward to shaking Juniel’s hand at graduation.
Juniel plans to start studying for the MCAT right after graduation as he plans to become a doctor.