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Nearly 129 years ago, physician Georgia E. Lee Patton became one of the first Black women to graduate from Meharry Medical College, opening the door for generations of women to follow suit. Standing on her shoulders are scholars like Zindzi Thompson, who became the youngest Black woman to earn a degree from the Nashville-based institution, WTVF reported.

The 21-year-old has always had a passion for medicine, and her parents, Machelle and Samuel Thompson, empowered her to follow her dreams of becoming a doctor. At the age of 13, the academic standout enrolled at Virginia’s Mary Baldwin University and continued her journey in higher education at Meharry Medical College. Her path in medicine has been far from an easy feat, but despite the challenging course load, she persevered.

For Zindzi—who has plans to pursue a career in psychiatry—the historic milestone serves as a continuation of her family’s legacy. Several of her loved ones are graduates of the medical school. She hopes her journey inspires others to stay dedicated to fulfilling their aspirations.

“Just don’t give up. Just push through. If you have to re-take a course, re-take it and do better. You can definitely do it, it’s not impossible,” she shared in a statement, according to the news outlet. Zindzi will begin her residency at the Washington University Barnes Jewish Hospital in June.

Black scholars are making history in academia. News about her accomplishment comes weeks after Haley Taylor Schlitz became the youngest Black law school graduate. Schlitz earned her degree from Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law. She plans to lead work centered on education policy.

“You don’t walk any road alone. You can’t do anything by yourself. You stand on the shoulders of giants, and there are great trees in your forest. Listen to their wisdom and to the tools they are giving you,” said Schlitz.


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