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In elementary school, where many of us are just hoping to make it to the next grade, Cortlan Wickliff had already drafted a plan for his career. Wickliff’s achieved an academic feat by becoming the second-youngest person to graduate from Harvard Law School and was at one point the youngest Black engineer in the country.

Wickliff’s path to excellence began when he entered college at age 15. As a transfer student to Rice University in Texas, he obtained his first degree, a bachelor’s in bioengineering in 2010. At 19, he was the youngest to do so at the time. That fall, he entered the hallowed halls of Harvard Law School to study intellectual property and patent law.

According to an interview, Wickliff struggled at first with the law world, which differed greatly from engineering. However, he found his stride and graduated in May 2013 at 22. Now, Wickliff is a Ph.D. student at Texas A&M and is studying interdisciplinary engineering. This third degree is all part of Wickliff’s master plan to own his own medical device company.

As a boy, Wickliff wanted to become a doctor but was not a fan of blood. So instead, he looked at ways he could still apply his medical school dreams in a practical way without being too close to the action. This three-tier attack has been successful thus far, and Wickliff is currently the assistant general counsel to a Texas pharmaceutical company. In essence, Wickliff hopes to help design devices that will aid doctors in a variety of operations.

Wickliff’s work ethic comes honestly, as his mother shocked the world by overcoming the odds of being a teen mother who eventually earned her Ph.D. in engineering. Although Wickliff isn’t yet a notable public figure, that should soon change as time goes on.

(Photo: Twitter)

Little Known Black History Fact: Cortlan Wickliff, the Second-Youngest Harvard Law Graduate  was originally published on