Today@Sam Article

Teen To Become Sam Houston State University’s Youngest Graduate

July 14, 2022
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti

Nehemia Juniel3Nehemiah Juniel has always been extremely interested in learning more. His curiosity led him to discovering how to play the piano by ear. At 5 years old, he was doing pre-algebra, and received his Associates of Science degree at age 13.

Now, at 15, he’ll graduate from Sam Houston State University with his bachelor’s degree in health sciences in August. Juniel will be the youngest student to ever graduate from the university.

Growing up in a supportive family environment with six siblings, Juniel was homeschooled by his parents along with his sister, Gabrielle, who will graduate ahead of schedule from SHSU in the fall at the age of 19.

Their mother, Corie, believes SHSU was a great fit because the extra services provided made their transition into university life easier than expected.

Financial aid spent hours with us to get Nehemiah’s award package worked out. They went the extra mile when speaking with the Federal Student Aid office, and were the most patient, resilient staff we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with,” she said. “With my husband being a veteran, we used his Hazelwood benefits, and the Veterans Resource Center walked us through the process.”

While learning comes naturally for the 15-year-old, earning a college degree and maintaining a high GPA still came with a few difficulties.

“The biggest challenge was staying focused. It was especially difficult when the course material was uninteresting or something I already knew,” Juniel said. “I often needed encouragement from others to put effort into such work before I put myself back on track again. My professors and teaching assistants were the most positive aspect of my experience at SHSU.”

It’s no surprise that Juniel’s quest for knowledge will continue after he crosses the stage. He will soon start studying for the MCAT to pursue his dream of becoming a cardiologist.

“Around the age of eight years old, I decided I wanted to become a surgeon of some sort,” he said. “As I grew, I continued to change and specify what kind of career I wanted to pursue. This culminated into my decision to study cardiology.”

He also hopes to inspire others to go after their dreams, as well, no matter their age.

“Don’t get discouraged if you run into a few issues or if you fail a couple of times. As long as you keep trying, you will eventually reach your goal,” he said.

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