Texas Teen Becomes Youngest Person to Graduate From UH, Already Enrolled in Master’s Program

January 2, 2021 Updated: January 14, 2021

A 17-year-old girl from Kingwood, Texas, is making headlines for graduating with a bachelor’s degree and certification, and pursuing her master’s degree, all before most teenagers have graduated high school.

After graduating with her bachelor’s in psychology this year, Salenah Cartier has become the youngest person to graduate from the University of Houston. She graduated high school at 14 and earned her psychology degree in just two and a half years. She also graduated with a certification in corporate entrepreneurship from the C.T. Bauer College of Business.

This month, Cartier is moving on to pursue her master’s through the UH College of Education.

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Salenah Cartier graduated from the University of Houston in 2020. (Courtesy of Salenah Cartier)

“I know that this is only the beginning of my journey,” Cartier told KHOU-11 on Dec. 28, 2020. “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to pursue higher education, and I am even more grateful for the opportunity to inspire others.”

It wasn’t an easy journey, though. Cartier explained that she didn’t qualify for financial aid, so she had to pay for most of her education on her own.

“During my first semester of college, I was only able to afford the costs of two classes, and I was not able to afford all of the required textbooks,” she said.

So, she worked hard, reselling textbooks and tutoring students to save enough money to attend full time classes. This tutoring was also what led Cartier to realize she wanted to pursue education.

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Just 17 years old, Salenah Cartier poses at her graduation from the University of Houston. (Courtesy of Salenah Cartier)

This year, tackling remote learning due to the pandemic, Cartier still managed to push through her coursework and graduate.

“Believe and invest in yourself, and I guarantee that everything else will align,” she said. “That’s advice to take with you throughout life.”

She added that her support system played a huge role in helping her achieve her goals.

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Salenah Cartier earned her associate’s degree in biology from Lone Star College-Kingwood at age 16. (Courtesy of Salenah Cartier)

“I am grateful for all of my advisors and professors, as they have helped me grow into the independent knowledge seeker that I am today,” she said. “I know that without the support of family, friends, and faculty members, this would not have been possible.”

Mayor Sylvester Turner publicly congratulated Cartier on Twitter, commenting that the 17-year-old’s “future is bright and I wish her the best.”

Cartier doesn’t intend to stop at a master’s degree. She also plans to pursue a doctorate in cognitive and developmental neuroscience, and even has ambitions to become the president of the United States one day.

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