Here’s one more special person to add to the U.S. history books!
Meet Brittney Exline, the youngest African-American engineer in the United States according to Ebony.com and other news sources.
The Colorado Springs, Colo., native made history in 2007 at the age of 15 when she became the youngest African-American female accepted into an Ivy League school, the University of Pennsylvania (Penn).
Exline has made history once again as the school’s youngest engineer and the nation’s youngest African-American engineer. The 19-year-old recently graduated cum laude, earning her bachelor’s degree in computer science. Already, she’s landed a job with a software company outside of Boston.
“I’m a little bit nervous,” said Exline. “I’m sure I’ll be fine. Being 19 doesn’t bother me. It’s just being fresh out of college and having a new transition.”
The graduate of Palmer High School’s International Baccalaureate program studied anthropology at Harvard University while still in secondary school and later received a full scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania.
Exline, who speaks Spanish, French, Japanese, Russian, Arabic and German, doubled her loads to graduate in four years with minors in math, psychology and classical studies. “I’ve never had less than five classes,” she said. “But I’ve had as many as 6.5 classes. I just made sure I had time to study. I went into the engineering school undeclared. I didn’t want to do chemical engineering. Computer science is a lot more theoretical and closer to math. I liked that part. It’s more abstract. That contributed to my strength.”
Born on Valentine’s Day—two weeks after her due date—Exline is the daughter of Chyrese and Christopher Exline, who works in copier sales. Chyrese always knew her daughter was special. Little Brittney was making pyramid designs with blocks at 6 months old, walking at 8 months old and completing 24- to 100-piece jigsaw puzzles at 15 months old.
“She kind of came out that way with good advocating,” said her mom, a former geriatric administrator and part-time pageant coach. “I’m very involved in the school district. I did the same with my son. We made sure they got everything they needed to succeed. I made sure they remained committed even when they wanted to quit. They learned you can’t quit an activity just because it’s hard. Sometimes you need to stick with something. That’s the only way to learn how to persevere and overcome true obstacles. Eventually, it becomes a part of you. I believe this.”
Britnney hopes to return to school to earn a master’s degree but isn’t bubbling over at the thoughts of earning a doctorate. “I don’t have any burning research questions I want to study for six or seven years.” (Story Credit: Margena A. Christian/EBONY)
This is truly an inspiring story. Congrats to Ms. Brittney and her amazing accomplishments.