Elliana Tenenbaum, 16, recently graduated from Arizona State University’s (ASU) accelerated nursing program as the youngest nursing student to ever graduate from the program. In fact, she earned her BSN before her driver’s license!
After starting the nursing program at 15 she pushed herself to complete within the year. “It wasn’t about what age I wanted to do something or what amount of time, but I knew this was the right pathway for me, and why hold myself back when I could get started,” said Tenenbaum.
Tenenbaum’s father, Steven, is a doctor and exposed his daughter to medicine from a very young age. “I’ve always had a calling to heal people and I grew up with my dad as a medical doctor. … I think I was 4 when I did my first shot and 8 when I did my first thyroid ultrasound,” she said.
Her mother, Maya, holds a Ph.D. and has taught statistics and political science and continues to take postdoctoral classes. “It’s really gratifying as a parent to see a child living up to their full potential and finding their gifts and giving back to the world,” Maya said.
“Her ability to learn things is very impressive. The ability to dedicate herself to work hard is amazing,” he said.
Originally from California, Tenenbaum found a welcoming and supportive environment at ASU. While her brother attends the University of Arizona, she chose ASU specifically for the accelerated program. “They have accepted me as one of their peers and it’s been a great experience,” Tenenbaum said.
“The fact that Elliana has found her passion in nursing and is pursuing it at this level already is really impressive,” Judith Karshmer, dean of the nursing program said. “Our program at Edson College is quite rigorous in order to adequately prepare future nurses for the workforce. Her ability to handle the coursework and clinical experiences at such a young age is extraordinary and truly sets her apart. I’m just glad she picked us to earn her BSN and can’t wait to see all that she accomplishes in the future.”
Many wondered how it is even possible to graduate at 16 but for Tenebaum it all started when she was in middle and high school. Tenenbaum graduated from El Camino High School at Ventura College in Ventura, California. After she determined her career goals, she started taking college classes while still in high school.
“You know what, age doesn’t matter. You could be 99 years old and a fantastic nurse; you could be 12 and a wonderful nurse, as long as you’re passionate about what you do,” she commented.
Tanenbaum will sit for her NCLEX and then technically can get a job working as a nurse. “Already have been applying to some nursing jobs. In the near future, want to pursue a doctor or nurse practice,” she added.