15-year-old on track to become youngest nursing grad at ASU
PHOENIX — A 15-year-old California native is on track to become the youngest person to ever graduate with a nursing degree from Arizona State University.
Elliana Tenenbaum is enrolled in an accelerated program at ASU’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation.
“From a very young age, I’ve been very passionate about medicine and helping people,” she told KTAR News 92.3 FM.
Her dad is a general practitioner and introduced her to the medical field. Under his supervision, she was only 4 when she administered her first shot and 8 when she did her first thyroid ultrasound.
Tenenbaum took her first college class at 11 and did dual enrollment in high school. Last year, she met all the requirements to be admitted to Edson College and started taking nursing classes in May, which meant moving away from home in California.
“I really can’t say I’ve encountered any adversity,” she said. “Everyone has been super accepting of my age and just treats me like another member of the group.”
In addition to taking classes, Tenenbaum has begun clinicals at Justa Center and John C. Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Phoenix. She’s also enrolled in a driver’s education course and hopes to get her driver’s license once she turns 16 in November.
Erica Lee is a program director for Edson College and one of Tenenbaum’s professor. She described the teen as “a dedicated student.”
“As a student, I find her to be very engaged and very eager to learn,” she said. “She asks really thoughtful questions. She’s clearly very prepared and has done her homework.”
Lee added she has not seen Tenenbaum struggle to keep up with the workload that comes with the accelerated nursing program.
“It’s about a 15-month program to the BSN,” Lee said. “There are really short breaks in between semesters – sometimes just a few days. But I really see her holding up well.”
Tenenbaum will graduate in August. She’ll be 16 and plans to go for a master’s and a doctorate in nursing. She ultimately wants to be a family nurse practitioner and follow her dad’s footsteps.
“It’s definitely a factor that influenced my passion for helping others,” Tenenbaum said, speaking about the influence her dad had on her decision to pursue a career in nursing.
“I think growing up and seeing these interventions and taking time to talk with patients just helps them so much, and they come out of the office feeling so great,” she added. “It’s something that I wanted to do.”