A 21-year-old University of Chicago student became the youngest ever to receive a medical degree from Pritzker School of Medicine on Friday.
"I am living my dream, “said Sho Yano, who earned his doctorate in molecular genetics and cell biology in addition to his M.D.
Yano first made headlines at the age of 9, when he entered Loyola Chicago University. In three years he graduated Summa Cum Laude and set his sights on medical school as the next step.
The average age of students entering medical school in the U.S. is 23, and there were schools that refused Yano admittance because of his age. School officials worried that the rigors of medical school would hinder Yano's ability to have a normal adolescence.
"I never understood that," Yano said. "Why would being allowed to challenge yourself be considered more damaging then being totally bored?"
University of Chicago decided to take the chance and admitted Yano in 2003.
"I remember interviewing him ... this nice, polite, 11-year-old boy, dressed in a little suit," said Dr. Joel Scwab, a professor of pediatrics who was on the admissions committee. "He was never going to be among typical 11-year-olds ... He was going to be a doctor."
The school made some accommodations because of Yano's age, according to an AP Report. Unlike most students, who begin their Ph.D. training after their second year of medical school, Yano began his after his first year, said the report. That way, he was about 18 when he began his second year of studies toward his M.D., which includes interacting with and examining patients, the report said.
Yano is also an accomplished pianist and has a black belt in tae kwon do. He is currently preparing for his residency in pediatric neurology.