Thessalonika Arzu-Embry is ahead of her class… way ahead. The 16-year-old, who lives with her family at Great Lakes Naval Station, has a masters degree and is now going for her doctorate.
She was home schooled and started college at 11. This fall, she’s starting a Ph.D. program in aviation psychology. “I feel honored for the opportunity to help others at an early age. I feel very glad to enter college and help people,” Arzu-Embry said.
In addition to her scholastic success, Arzu-Embry has already written three books.
Of all the stories we posted this year, however, the ones most popular with GBN’s readers have primarily focussed on education, super-intelligent youth, and the debunking of the “deadbeat dad” myth that unfairly haunts so many African-American fathers:
In 2014, GBN will strive to bring you much more of the same (as well as the surprising and unexpected), as we believe there can only be more Good Black News stories to cover. Because when you really look for it, you can find positivity everywhere.
Thessalonika Arzu-Embry and her mother, Wonder Embry, get up at five in the morning most weekdays to go to school together. Unlike most 14-year-olds, however, Thessalonika isn’t off early in the morning to the local high school. She’s going to Chicago State University.
Thessalonika is putting the finishing touches on a college career that started three years ago at College of Lake County and will end next month with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Chicago State. “My college experience is a traditional college experience for me — it is just that I have completed it faster,” Thessalonika said. “I am very excited about joining others in having the opportunity to contribute to society in a significant way.”
After their early wake-up, Thessalonika and her mom pray and work on Bible studies, then work out at a local fitness center before starting their hour-and-a-half commute from their home at the Great Lakes Naval Station near North Chicago to Chicago State, located on the city’s South Side. Wonder Embry is a classmate of sorts at Chicago State, where she’s a graduate student in clinical psychology.
During the commute, Wonder and Thessalonika study theory together and chat about their homework assignments. Thessalonika said her mother keeps her motivated. “My mother is a strong inspiration to my success. She is a veteran of the United States Navy, and when she finished her tour, she home-schooled my brother and I,” Thessalonika said. Thessalonika’s mother said that for her part, she was just doing right by her daughter. “The parents are the most influential force in their own children’s lives, and they have the power to influence them to do good and to go forward,” Wonder Embry said.
Thessalonika was home-schooled until she was 8. At age 11, after receiving the equivalent of a high school diploma through her home schooling, she passed an entrance exam to attend College of Lake County and enrolled to study psychology. She said she chose college from such a young age because she loves studying and has an interest in psychology that goes far beyond just material knowledge. One of her ultimate goals is to help people through a clinic she hopes to establish with her mother and her brother, Jeremy.